Last Monday, on May 20, I traveled to Boston College to protest Enda Kenny, the pro-abortion Prime Minister of Ireland, who was the commencement speaker of the Catholic, Jesuit college.
Students for Life of America, a youth pro-life organization, was there protesting at the college, through a prayer vigil and a press conference. The group got news out about the commencement speaker through their web page, Not at BC. The website, even still after the commencement and protest has occurred, invites visitors to e-mail BC President Rev. William Leahy and to also thank Cardinal Sean O’Malley, the Archbishop of Boston, who boycotted the commencement this year. When I spoke to Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life, she mentioned that as of the day of the protest, over 3,500 people had contacted the reverend or the cardinal.
The website provides helpful information, on the “Background Information” page, as to what the situation is with Prime Minister Enda Kenny. Although he campaigned on a pro-life position, Kenny is now putting forth legislation known as “The Protection of Life during Pregnancy Bill 2013,” which will legalize abortion in Ireland for pregnant women who threaten suicide. There is no gestational limit.
Kate Bryan of Live Action, who is an Irish-American and lived in Ireland for a time, also provides a piece with information on the situation in Ireland, as well as her experience at Boston College on Monday. Back in February, a piece appeared on Live Action News which contains a video from the Life Institute, a pro-life group, showing that medical experts confirm that abortion is not necessary for cases of threatened suicide. Also, it is worth noting the frightening possibility that as exceptions are allowed for instances such as suicide, it will become easier for more exceptions to be allowed in Ireland, which is currently abortion-free, and is one of the safest places in the world to have a baby.
When Kate Bryan spoke to me, she mentioned that Enda Kenny likes America and American attention. Many Irish-Americans were present at this protest, including some with dual citizenship. With any hope, Kenny will listen to these Irish-Americans, because one American example for Ireland not to follow would have to be the legalization of abortion. Forty years after Roe v. Wade, America has lost over 56 million children – quite a staggering figure. Yet Planned Parenthood certainly would like Ireland to legalize abortion. The group endorsed Enda Kenny as commencement speaker, which should be telling enough, as it would not make sense for a group which is so beholden to abortion to endorse someone who wasn’t so pro-abortion himself. Kate also told me that a lawyer for Planned Parenthood, Julie Kay, said that Ireland is the “jewel in the crown of the pro-life movement” that the pro-abortion movement wants.
As the “Background Information” page of Not at BC mentions, “[b]ut like many politicians, [Enda Kenny’s] backbone has broken easily.” It is likely that Boston College invited Kenny months before he put forth such pro-abortion legislation. The college, which claims to be Catholic and Jesuit, should have rescinded the invitation as soon as its administrators became aware of the bill.
When a college such as Boston College invites a pro-abortion commencement speaker, and awards him with an honorary degree, one has to wonder about the identity of this Catholic, Jesuit college and about Catholic institutions in general. When I spoke to TFP Student Action, another group present at the protest, the message I wished to convey was that if a Catholic college cannot maintain and be consistent with its pro-life values, there surely is a problem. For then Catholic institutions will fall to secular influence, and if these institutions themselves cannot hold consistent values, how can we expect others to? How can we expect non-Catholics to take us seriously either?
CJ Doyle, President of the Catholic Action League of Massachusetts, expressed similar sentiments. He believes that the Catholic Church must reclaim its tradition, and that the Church has compromised and even become a collaborator as it has become more secular.
For a list of all the press conference speakers, as well as pictures, many which feature myself and Kate, feel free to look to a piece from Students for Life. There are also links to media outlets which have covered the protest, including those from Ireland.
Kristan Hawkins mentioned during the press conference in between speakers that the protest was not in any way against the students graduating. Many students and families also expressed disappointment themselves with Enda Kenny being honored; one of the speakers at the press conference included parents Dr. and Mrs. Daley, who were on their way to attend their son’s commencement. Boston College does have a pro-life club, and there are no doubt faithful Catholics and pro-lifers who attend the college, but it is a shame that their pro-life beliefs – beliefs which Boston College should uphold – have to be disgraced with such a choice as Enda Kenny as commencement speaker.