Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny, whose coalition government recently introduced legislation to legalize abortion in Ireland, is scheduled to deliver the commencement address and receive an honorary degree at Boston College on May 20. The College is a Catholic and Jesuit institution.
Boston College's Chronicle highlighted Enda Kenny's focus on the "rights and responsibilities of all citizens" and his demonstrated "concern for social justice."
"The American bishops have clearly opposed Catholic honors for pro-abortion politicians in their 2004 statement 'Catholics in Political Life' and their very public criticism of Notre Dame's honors to President Barack Obama in 2009," said Patrick J. Reilly, President of The Cardinal Newman Society. "By honoring Kenny as a commencement speaker and degree recipient, Boston College is blatantly compromising its Catholic mission and undermining the Church's unequivocal opposition to abortion."
In letters today, The Cardinal Newman Society asked Rev. William Leahy, S.J., to rescind the invitation to Kenny and shared its concerns with Boston Cardinal Sean O'Malley, OFM Cap.
LifeSiteNews.com reports that, on April 30, 2013, the coalition government led by Kenny introduced "The Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill 2013," expected to be acted upon in July, which if passed would allow for abortion in Ireland "under the guise of preventing the suicide of pregnant women." According to the report, critics of the legislation argue that the bill would permit abortion during all nine months of pregnancy.
The Prime Minister has even reportedly threatened to expel Catholic members of parliament if they refuse to vote for the measure.
Thirty-one Catholic bishops issued a statement last Saturday in response, Eircom reports. The bishops said, "The bill as outlined represents a dramatic and morally unacceptable change to Irish law and is unnecessary to ensure that women receive the life-saving treatment they need during pregnancy."
"It is a tragic moment for Irish society when we regard the deliberate destruction of a completely innocent person as an acceptable response to the threat of the preventable death of another person," the Irish bishops wrote.
The same day the bishops issued their statement, according the Eircom, Primate of All Ireland Cardinal Sean Brady asserted that politicians have a "solemn duty" to oppose abortion.
Catholic News Agency reported in July 2011 that Kenny promised to put forth legislation which would punish priests as criminals and imprison them if they refuse to violate the seal of the confessional in cases about sexual abuse.
Kenny made headlines in 2012 when, according to the National Catholic Register, he described "dysfunction, disconnection, elitism -- the narcisism -- that dominate the culture of the Vatican to this day" during a speech to the Irish parliament.
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