Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley’s decision to boycott next Monday’s Boston College commencement because of Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Enda Kenny’s invite has been highly criticized by key members of the local media.
One prominent columnist, Kevin Cullen of the Boston Globe, is calling O’Malley’s reasoning “embarrassingly flawed” and “ breathtaking in its hypocrisy.”
Boston Herald columnist Margery Eagan also wrote of her fury about O’Malley’s boycott of Kenny.
“O’Malley’s honeymoon is over for those of us who rooted for him when he made the short list for pope, who were proud to see him preside at the funerals of marathon victims Krystle Campbell and MIT police officer Sean Collier, and who were hopeful about the break from the hierarchy’s typical bashing of gays, women and all things sexual,” she wrote.
“Good for Boston College for refusing to disinvite Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny.”
In his column in Tuesday’s Boston Globe, Cullen, a well-known Irish American commentator, called O’Malley’s stance towards Kenny hypocritical considering the church’s record in dealing with clerical pedophiles.
“Cardinal O’Malley won’t share a stage with Enda Kenny, a good man who is personally opposed to abortion but knows that his duty as the elected leader of a sovereign nation is not to impose his personal beliefs but to adhere to the Irish Constitution and the Irish people who embody that Constitution,” Cullen wrote.
“But, while voting for pope, Cardinal O’Malley had no problem sitting in the same room as Cardinal Roger Mahony, the archbishop of Los Angeles, who belongs not in the Sistine Chapel but San Quentin for his shameless protection of predatory priests who raped children.”
Cullen also called for O’Malley to stay consistent with his stance against Boston College and refuse donations from alumni.
“Cardinal O’Malley is a very learned man, and he understands logic, and so by his logic I’m assuming he will not be accepting any money from all those well-heeled BC alums who are big donors to the archdiocese, because BC gives honorary degrees to people like Enda Kenny who want to save the lives of women who might die in difficult pregnancies,” he wrote.
In a statement on his personal blog published last Friday, O’Malley said that Kenny was “aggressively promoting abortion legislation” in Ireland.
“Since the university has not withdrawn the invitation and because the taoiseach has not seen fit to decline, I shall not attend the graduation,” he added.
In response to an Irish Supreme Court directive, Kenny’s government recently introduced legislation that would permit abortion in limited medically related circumstances. O’Malley claims that because of this, Kenny is unworthy of delivering the commencement address at Boston College, one of the largest, most prominent Catholic institutions in the country.
“The Catholic Bishops of the United States have asked that Catholic institutions not honor government officials or politicians who promote abortion with their laws and policies,” O’Malley wrote.
IrishCentral reported last week that Irish consular officials in Boston understood that while O’Malley would not attend the graduation, he would also not issue a statement rebuking Kenny’s presence. The officials were caught off-guard by the cardinal’s blog post on Friday and were reportedly furious.
Boston College has refused to back down in the face of the controversy. “We look forward to our commencement and to Prime Minister Kenny's remarks," spokesperson Jack Dunn said in a statement.
The Catholic Action League of Massachusetts has firmly sided against Boston College. "BC, a school built by and for Catholics, now stands with Planned Parenthood and a pro-abortion government against the church and the pro-life movement. It is an unconscionable betrayal,” spokesperson CJ Doyle said on Sunday.
Kenny will receive a doctor of laws degree, and will address Boston College’s graduating class of 4,400.