Cardinal Sean O’Malley Is Boycotting the BC Graduation

The commencement speaker, Irish P.M. Enda Kenny, supports a change to Ireland's abortion laws.


Photo via The Pilot/George Martell

Cardinal Seán O’Malley won’t be attending the Boston College graduation ceremony this year because the school has invited the Irish prime minister Enda Kenny, who supports a bill on abortion rights facing the Irish Parliament. O’Malley said in a statement that the U.S. bishops have “asked that Catholic institutions not honor government officials or politicians who promote abortion with their laws and policies.” He continued:

I am sure that the invitation 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 Kenny is aggressively promoting abortion legislation […] Since the university has not withdrawn the invitation and because the Taoiseach [prime minister] has not seen fit to decline, I shall not attend the graduation. 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.

Kenny, who will deliver the school’s commencement address, supports legislation under consideration in Ireland that would allow abortions if the mother’s life is in danger. Irish bishops, as O’Malley noted in his statement, have said the measure “represents a dramatic and morally unacceptable change to Irish law.”

The Catholic Action League of Massachusetts had already taken issue with BC’s choice to invite Kenny. BC’s spokesman responded to that challenge by telling the Boston Globe:

Boston college invited Prime Minister Kenny to speak at our commencement in light of our long-standing connection with Ireland and our desire to recognize and celebrate our heritage … Our invitation is independent of the proposed bill that will be debated in the Irish parliament this summer.

O’Malley ended the statement saying that though he won’t be in attendance, he wishes BC’s graduates well:

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.

The ceremony is scheduled to take place May 20.