Irish PM Enda Kenny has delivered the Boston College commencement address, telling graduates: “Live long and deep and comfortably in your own skin.”
His appearance at the Catholic school drew extra attention due to Archbishop of Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley’s decision to boycott the annual rite, where he traditionally would give the benediction.
Kenny at Boston College. Photo from stamfordadvocate.com
O’Malley has accused Kenny of “aggressively promoting abortion legislation” in Ireland. The cardinal and other church leaders say Ireland’s pending abortion legislation creates a slippery slope toward eliminating the country’s prohibition against the procedure.
A committee in Dublin is hearing testimony this week on the proposed bill. Supporters say it keeps the abortion prohibition in place while clarifying exceptions involving the life of the mother, including thoughts of suicide.
Kenny did not address the abortion controversy in his May 20 remarks at Boston College. The Irish Independent described the 26-minute speech as “rousing.” Here’s a link to the transcript.
During his weekend visit to Boston, the taoiseach also spoke at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum, which is joining U.S. and Irish remembrances of JFK’s June 1963 trip to Ireland. Kenny also laid a wreath at the site of the Boston Marathon bombing.
A government committee will begin hearing testimony May 17 on proposed abortion legislation. The Irish Times reports on who will and who will not testify.
Debate over abortion began raging in the republic after the October death of a 31-year-old Indian woman refused the procedure during a miscarriage.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny and other proponents of the law say it will maintain Ireland’s prohibition on abortion but clarify exceptions as to when the procedure can take place to protect the life of the pregnant woman, including if she has thoughts of suicide.
The Catholic Church and other opponents see the law as a slippery slope toward ending the nation’s prohibition against abortion. More than 5,000 people attended an anti-abortion rally at the Marian shrine in Knock, County Mayo, at the beginning of the month, but the church’s opposition seems to have only emboldened its critics, including Kenny.
The controversy has crossed the Atlantic to Boston College, where Kenny is invited to address graduates May 20, prompting Cardinal Sean O’Malley’s refusal to attend the event.
The Irish government has until the end of July to pass the law before its scheduled summer recess.