By Jim Smith email@example.com
The head of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston, Cardinal Sean O'Malley, says that he will not attend May 20 graduation ceremonies at Boston College because Taoiseach Enda Kenny will be delivering the commencement address and receiving an honorary degree. "I am sure that the invitation (to Kenny) was made in good faith, long before it came to the attention of the leadership of Boston College that Mr. Kenny is aggressively promoting abortion legislation," O'Malley said in a press statement. "Since the university has not withdrawn the invitation and because the Taoiseach has not seen fit to decline, I shall not attend the graduation." O'Malley, who was scheduled to deliver a blessing to the graduates at the Jesuit college, alluded in his statement to the 2004 request of the U.S. Catholic Bishops that Catholic institutions "should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles. They should not be given awards, honors, or platforms which would suggest support for their actions." BC spokesman Jack Dunn said in a press release that the college respects O'Malley and regrets that he will not attend. He said BC's decision to honor Kenny was based in part on the "historically close relationship Boston College has enjoyed with Ireland." Dunn also denied that there was any rift between the college and the church. "As a Catholic institution, Boston College supports the Church's commitment to the life of the unborn." At the crux of the conflict is Kenny's support of pending legislation in Ireland which the bishops there have described as "a dramatic and morally unacceptable change to Irish law." Continues on page 2 The proposed legislation permits a single doctor to authorize abortion if the woman's life is in immediate danger, requires the approval of two doctors if a pregnancy poses a potentially lethal risk, and mandates the approval of three doctors if the woman is threatening suicide during any stage of the pregnancy. It also contains conscience-clause protections for physicians, nurses, or other health care workers. "It is a tragic moment for Irish society when we regard the deliberate destruction of a completely innocent person as an acceptable response to the threat of the preventable death of another person," the Irish bishops wrote in a statement earlier in May. In a speech on May 1, Kenny said about the proposed abortion bill, "Our aim is to protect the lives of women and their unborn babies by clarifying the circumstances in which doctors can intervene when a woman's life is at risk." In his statement, O'Malley said that the graduates will be in his prayers. "I pray that their studies will prepare them to be heralds of the Church's Social Gospel and men and women for others, especially for the most vulnerable in our midst." On Saturday, one day after making his stunning announcement, O'Malley gave the commencement address at Regis College, a liberal Catholic college west of Boston. He was awarded an honorary doctorate of laws degree during the ceremonies.