Catholic Groups Protesting John Kerry’s Speech at Boston College Commencement

They say Kerry supports abortion and same-sex marriage, and shouldn't be honored by the school.

Image via Associated Press

Photo via Associated Press

An independent Catholic watchdog group is planning to protest outside of Boston College’s commencement ceremony Monday morning, and calling on Cardinal Sean O’Malley to withdraw from attending the engagement, because of the school’s choice to allow Secretary of State John Kerry to speak to the graduating class.

The Catholic Action League of Massachusetts argues that Kerry, who’s due to receive an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the school and deliver an address about international affairs during the event, shouldn’t be praised due to his conflicting political views and public support of abortion, birth control, and same-sex marriage.

“The Catholic community and 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,” members of the Catholic Action League said in a statement Monday.

The group will be joining “Operation Rescue: Boston” during the planned protest, which will take place at the entrance to Alumni Stadium on Beacon Street, near where families and graduates will be walking around the campus for the day’s events.

This is the second year in a row that the group has protested BC’s commencement and asked the Cardinal not to attend. Last year, O’Malley boycotted the ceremony because Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny was the scheduled commencement speaker. O’Malley refused to attend the event because Kenny supported legislation that was under consideration to change Ireland’s abortion laws.

The Catholic Action League said Kenny’s support of that legislation “pales in comparison” to Kerry’s beliefs.

“No rational person could reasonably be expected to take seriously Catholic opposition to abortion when one of America’s leading Catholic universities gives an honor and a platform to a political figure who has spent the last 30 years working against the Catholic faith on this issue, while the Pro-Life Chairman of the American Catholic bishops, Cardinal O’Malley, looks on,” said C. J. Doyle, the group’s executive director.

Boston reached out to the Archdiocese of Boston to find out if O’Malley would attend Monday’s event, but did not immediately receive a reply.

Despite the protest, officials from Boston College said they are excited to welcome Kerry to campus to deliver his keynote address to the 2014 graduating class, and dismissed the Catholic League’s opposition.

“The Catholic Action League has no standing whatsoever within the Catholic Church or academe,” said BC spokesman Jack Dunn. “While they are entitled to their viewpoints, we are looking forward to our commencement and to having the Secretary of State speak to our graduating students on international affairs.”

Dunn said the Catholic Action League is a small, self-appointed watchdog group, and they’re not appointed to be the voice of the Catholic Church. “They are not recognized as a church entity,” Dunn said. “People assume they’re speaking for the Archdiocese of Boston, and they’re not. But they have a constitutional right to voice their opinion.”

When asked if O’Malley would be attending the event, Dunn said he is invited every year, however, he does not have a speaking role for this commencement.