More Protests At Boston College Commencement Ceremony

Students rallied against the featured speaker's appearance based on his views about abortion.

Photo via Students For Life.

Photo via Students For Life.

Students and anti-abortion groups gathered outside of Boston College prior to the school’s commencement ceremonies on Monday to protest the appearance of Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny, and ask the college to rescind its decision to award him an honorary degree.

Members of the Catholic Action League of Massachusetts, Operation Rescue Boston, and Boston’s Students for Life chapter held signs outside the entrance of the college as families and graduates strolled in to attend the ceremony, and hear Kenny speak. Kenny recently supported a bill on abortion rights that would allow abortions if the mother’s life is in danger—something that group members from Students for Life called unacceptable.

“The fact that Boston College is honoring the man who is pushing an abortion bill that will lead to the mass death of preborn Irish children and the harm of countless women and families is unconscionable,” said Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America. The group said “under no circumstance” should a Catholic university allow Kenny to speak, because his views are in direct violation of church teachings. “If Boston College won’t stand for the preborn at its graduation ceremonies, we will,” said Hawkins.

As part of the protests along Beacon Street, members of the Students For Life gave young children signs to hold that said, “I am the pro-life generation.”

Members of the Catholic Action League, who stood alongside Students for Life Monday, said the school’s decision to honor Kenny doesn’t fall in line with traditional practices and beliefs, and that it “clearly contravenes” the 2004 statement by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Catholics in Political Life, which states institutions shouldn’t honor those who act in defiance of fundamental moral principles.

Catholic Action League Executive Director C. J. Doyle, an alumnus of Boston College, said in a statement:

At a time when the Church and the entire pro-life movement in Ireland are resisting Kenny’s proposed changes in Irish law, a Catholic institution is honoring Mr. Kenny. It is a deplorable scandal and an unconscionable betrayal.

Boston’s own Cardinal Sean O’Malley also boycotted the ceremony on Monday, citing the opinion of the Conference of Catholic Bishops. “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,” he said, following the announcement about Kenny’s appearance and scheduled speech.