Boston cardinal snubs Kenny over support for abortion Bill

Senior US cleric to boycott event in Boston where Taoiseach is due to speak

Taoiseach Enda Kenny is due to receive an honorary degree from Boston College at the May 20th commencement. Photograph: Julien Behal/PA Wire

Boston’s cardinal is to boycott a Jesuit college’s graduation where Taoiseach Enda Kenny is the commencement speaker, over his support for the proposed Protection of Life in Pregnancy Bill..

In a statement, Cardinal Sean O’Malley said abortion was “a crime against humanity” and the US Conference of Catholic Bishops has asked Catholic institutions not to honour those who promote it.

Mr Kenny is due to receive an honorary degree from Boston College at the May 20th commencement. Cardinal O'Malley said that since the college had not withdrawn its invitation and Mr Kenny had not declined it, "I shall not attend the graduation".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,” he said.


College spokesman Jack Dunn said the school respected Cardinal O'Malley and regretted his decision not to attend graduation.

“However, we look forward to our commencement and to Prime Minister Kenny’s remarks,” he added. Mr Dunn said Mr Kenny was invited to because of

Ireland’s historically close relationship with the college and that the school “supports the church’s commitment to the life of the unborn”.

Cardinal O’Malley said the Irish bishops had concluded the bill “represents a dramatic and morally unacceptable change to Irish law”.

Last year, another Catholic college in Massachusetts was involved in a similar controversy after the Bishop of Worcester pressured Anna Maria College in Paxton to withdraw an invitation to US senator Edward Kennedy's widow, Victoria Reggie Kennedy, to deliver its commencement address.

Bishop Robert McManus objected to Mrs Kennedy’s public support for abortion rights and gay marriage.

She later accepted the Boston College School of Law’s invitation to give the keynote address at commencement.