The top cleric in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston has announced he will not attend graduation ceremonies next week at Jesuit-run Boston College, where the commencement speaker will be Ireland's Prime Minister Enda Kenny (shown in photo). The prime minister is supporting legislation in Ireland to legalize abortion in cases where the pregnancy is determined to be a threat to a woman's life, including cases where the woman is threatening suicide.
In a statement released Friday, Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley said the commencement address and honorary Doctor of Laws degree to be awarded Kenny at the May 20 ceremonies at Alumni Stadium go against the policy of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops that Catholic institutions should not honor government officials or politicians who promote abortion with their laws and policies.
"Since the university has not withdrawn the invitation and because the Taoiseach [prime minister] has not seen fit to decline, I shall not attend the graduation,'' O'Malley said in his statement. "It is my ardent hope that Boston College will work to redress the confusion, disappointment and harm caused by not adhering to the Bishops' directives.''
By tradition, the Boston archbishop delivers the benediction at the Boston College commencement each spring. Not this time, said the cardinal, noting that Kenny has been "aggressively promoting abortion legislation" in Ireland, despite opposition from church leaders there. The Catholic Church opposes abortion as "a crime against humanity," he said.
"Although I shall not be present to impart the final benediction," the cardinal added, "I assure the graduates that they are in my prayers on this important day in their lives, and 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."
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