Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley, the archbishop of the Boston Archdiocese, said today he would not attend Boston College’s commencement because the scheduled speaker, Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny, supports controversial abortion-rights legislation in his country. In a statement released this afternoon, O’Malley said the Catholic Bishops of the United States have urged Catholic institutions not to honor government officials whose views on the issue are inconsistent with the teachings of the Catholic church. The Irish legislation would permit abortions if there is a real and substantial threat to the mother’s life, including from suicide.
“Since the university has not withdrawn the invitation and because the Taoiseach [prime minister] has not seen fit to decline, I shall not attend the graduation,’’ O’Malley said in a statement.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.’’He added, “although I shall not be present to impart the final benediction, 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.’’ By tradition, the Boston archbishop delivers the final benediction at BC’s commencement each spring. The college is scheduled to award Kenny an honorary Doctor of Laws degree at the ceremony, which will be held May 20 at Alumni Stadium.
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