Boston Archbishop Boycotts Commencement Ceremony at Catholic School Because Pro-Choice Politician Will Be Speaking

Sean O’Malley, Archbishop of Boston, has decided to skip this Monday’s commencement ceremony at Boston College (a Catholic university) because the chosen speaker, Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenney, supports abortion-rights legislation in Ireland.

The Prime Minister (called a Taoiseach in the Irish governmental system) is working to draft legislation protecting doctors from prosecution for performing abortions when a mother’s life will be endangered for any reason, including threat of suicide. He has insisted all along that the bill being debated in Ireland’s parliament does not actually change existing abortion laws; it merely “provides certainty” for doctors who need to know they will not be punished for deciding to perform life-saving abortions.

It was this kind of certainty that was missing in the case of Savita Halappanavar, who died from an infection after doctors refused to remove her miscarrying fetus so long as it still had a heartbeat. Fear of prosecution led doctors to await the fetus’ natural death before removing it, at Savita’s expense — a decision that is considered at odds with the principles of patient-centered obstetrics.

Nonetheless, Archbishop O’Malley sees fit to boycott the commencement in protest of the Taoiseach’s work to clarify abortion laws, noting that abortion is “a crime against humanity” in the eyes of the Church. He notes that:

Since the university has not withdrawn the invitation and because the Taoiseach has not seen fit to decline, I shall not attend the graduation.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. Although I shall not be present to impart the final benediction, I assure the graduates that they are in my prayers on this important day of their lives, and I pray that their studies will prepare them to be heralds of the Church’s Social Gospel and ‘men and women for others’, especially for the most vulnerable in our midst.

He means fetuses, of course, and seems to ignore the likelihood that Savita Halappanavar, in her last moments, was probably pretty darn vulnerable.

Interestingly, O’Malley’s response has apparently angered the Irish government, who thought they had reached an arrangement with the Archbishop: O’Malley would skip the ceremony, but give a plausible reason not related to the Taoiseach’s pro-choice views, deftly avoiding the kind of publicity that would lead to major pro-life protests outside the commencement hall.

It’s hard to imagine that Boston College isn’t similarly peeved; after all, by publicly condemning Enda Kenny’s legislative efforts, O’Malley has boosted the likelihood of uncomfortable confrontations at an event that’s meant to celebrate students’ academic achievements. Nonetheless, the school’s administrators have chosen an even-handed response, observing that, while they will miss the Archbishop’s presence, they look forward to hearing the Taoiseach’s commencement address.

About Sara Lin Wilde

Sara Lin Wilde is a recovering Catholic (and cat-holic, for that matter - all typographical errors are the responsibility of her feline friends). She lives in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, where she is working on writing a novel that she really, really hopes can actually get published.

  • Skulander

    Why am I not surprised to see religion men (why are the most rabid antichoicers typically male?) fighting tooth and nail legislations that save women’s lives?

    Prolife has never been about life. The lives of women, Sean O’Malley couldn’t care less about. It’s all about misogyny, sexism and control of women’s bodies.

    • Sven2547

      True that.
      Easy access to contraception is the most effective way to cut down on abortions by a HUGE margin. By passing healthcare reform to accomplish that, President Obama will be the most pro-life President in history, and the so-called “pro life” Catholic Church has fought him tooth and nail at every step.

      • Miss_Beara

        Bingo! I forgot which Republican said “health care is not a right, it is a privilege” but it hardly makes a difference because they all think that. That fetus you wanted so badly born, is born and is ill? Ill babies, children, women, men, elderly? Too bad.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-W-Busch/578120211 Michael W Busch

        Likewise, Planned Parenthood is one of the biggest preventers of abortion in the United States at the present time.

        • Miss_Beara

          And preventative care in general but OMGZ LETS SHUT DEM DOWN BECUZ BAYBEES!

  • NewEnglandBob

    Not surprised that someone representing the RCC woul take a stance that is hundreds of years out of date.

  • http://benny-cemoli.myopenid.com/ Benny Cemoli

    Does anyone really care whether or not Archbishop O’Malley is going to speak at a Catholic school graduation ceremony? To be honest if the Archbishop wants to be such a pissy little ass then more power to him.I really could care less about it. In any case I would rather listen to Taoiseach Kenny any day of the year as he seems to be a very articulate person

    P.S. the article you linked to about his reneging on his deal refers to O’Malley as a Cardinal but in your post you give him the title of Archbishop. Which one is correct

  • Gregory Lynn

    I found out about this a few days ago and decided to share my views with the world on G+ because I attended Boston College and the world needs to know what I think.

    Here it is:

    You know, it’s not every day that you see your alma mater as a trending topic, well, anywhere.

    But hey, Boston College was trending and I took a look to see why.

    Holy fuckballs, Batman.

    Let’s hit the highlights shall we?

    Ireland has just about the most restrictive laws on abortion in Europe, prohibiting them all and providing a penalty of life in prison.

    Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny supports legislation that would lift the prohibition against abortions in cases where the mother’s life is at stake.

    Kenny was invited to speak at the commencement ceremonies.

    Cardinal Sean O’Malley is declining to attend, saying that abortion is a crime against humanity.

    As I mentioned above, I attended Boston College, getting my degree at night while working a full time job. I went there for, basically, three reasons. It was a good school; it was within commuting distance; Doug Flutie.

    I was not then, nor am I now Catholic. I was not then, nor am I now Irish.

    At my graduation, held, by the way, on a Monday to avoid a conflict with Cardinal Bernard Law’s regular Sunday duties, the featured speaker was Gerry Adams (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gerry_Adams) the President of Sinn Fein which Wikipedia kindly refers to as the “largest nationalist party” in Northern Ireland.

    Sinn Fein is–or at least was–more often referred to as the political wing of the IRA which makes Adams at best a man who could do a better job choosing friends and at worst a man in the leadership of a terrorist organization.

    Cardinal Law didn’t have a problem showing up on stage with him. And he didn’t have a problem showing up on stage with Cardinal Law.

    Let’s remember Cardinal Law for a moment, shall we?

    People nationally don’t really remember it, but the Catholic Priest Sex Abuse Scandal, which is the polite term for a global conspiracy to rape children started to unravel in Boston. And Cardinal Law is the one who was transferring John Geoghan, John Birmingham, and others. It was Cardinal Law who, more than anyone else in the Boston archdiocese, enabled sexual predators to have continued access to children to rape while doing his best to cover it all up.

    It sickens me to think that I once thought it was kinda cool to have a Cardinal speaking at my graduation.

    It sickens me to think that I was sitting in a ridiculously hot robe on ridiculously hot astroturf so near to a man who had so little regard for human decency that he would allow hundreds of children to be raped. Hundreds of children were raped.

    Savita Halappanavar was not one of them. She was a Hindu woman from India who had a miscarriage while in Ireland. She went to the hospital where she was told the fetus was not viable and that no abortion could be performed because the heart was beating.

    She died. Septicemia set in because that’s what happens when dying fetuses aren’t removed.

    And now Enda Kenny wants to pass some legislation so that the next woman who comes into an Irish hospital in a similar situation won’t die.

    And Cardinal Sean O’Malley thinks it is an offense to humanity.

    Cardinal O’Malley, I don’t think you know what “offense to humanity” even means and frankly, if I could go back in time and either skip graduation or find another school to go to, I’d do it.

    • Miss_Beara

      Bravo!

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

    Any time the Roman Catholic Church, or any member of its clergy from the Pope to priests decide to take their marbles and go home in a huff, that’s fine with me.

    Pulling out of involvement with the rest of the world in any form just accelerates their ongoing process of becoming irrelevant. So yeah, pull out of providing adoption services because you can’t turn away gay couples. Pull out of businesses because the government won’t let you carve out birth control from your employees’ insurance. Pull out of all sorts of social and cultural interactions with society in general because you can’t get your way on things that are only peripherally related.

    Pull out of the orifices of children.

    And finally, pull out of the world and become a collection of artifacts catching dust in a museum display case.

    • SJH

      You sound very hateful. Perhaps patience and respect would be better virtues to work on. And don’t say that hate is justified just because you think they are being hateful. Catholic clergy would not claim such a thing. They would teach that you should love everyone. As I write this, I am picturing an onslaught of statements like, “but they hate homosexuals” or “but they hate women.” If you think this you need to get to know a priest and understand what they teach. After all, the source of hatred is ignorance.

      • Nate Frein

        What was “hateful” about his post?

        • Charles Honeycutt

          Misusing words is part of standard Catholic apologetics.

      • Sven2547

        Have you ever heard of “indirect abortion”?

        In the event of an ectopic pregnancy, the Catholic Church allows a life-saving “indirect abortion”, but only if they do it by cutting out the woman’s Fallopian tube, permanently damaging her fertility. In contrast, a conventional pill-based abortion would do no lasting harm to the woman at all.
        To review: the Catholic Church’s stance on treating ectopic pregnancy is that it’s better to do unnecessary harm to women than to not harm them at all. And you wonder why people think the Catholic Church hates women.

        • SJH

          I think you are misunderstanding the position. They allow for an abortion when the intent is to save the life of the mother and not intended to end the life of the child.

          Check out this link and it might clarify things.

          http://www.catholic.com/quickquestions/whats-the-difference-between-direct-and-indirect-abortion

          And no, even if what you said was true, I wouldn’t consider it to be hateful to women. If the position that you inaccurately depict was held by the Church, it would only represents a moral position, not an opinion for or against women.

          • Duke OfOmnium

            Placing the “life” of an inviable fetus over the life of a woman is hateful to women. It is a position (and an opinion) against women. But keep trying.

            • SJH

              It is not hateful towards women. As an example, lets assume that the Church is misinformed and the pro-choice position is good for women. Lets take an analogy where I am misinformed and I think a particular medication is good for my children but is actually harming them. In my ignorance, I give the medication to my children because I am trying to help them. Does this act of unintentional violence mean that I hate my kids? Of course not. I love my kids and want to help them so I do what I think is right. Sometimes I might be wrong but I do my best. That all anyone asks of us. That all the Church asks of us. The priests and bishops are honorable men trying to do their best to serve those that they love.

              • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-W-Busch/578120211 Michael W Busch

                Once again, their intentions are largely irrelevant when their actions cause harm – and that they most certainly do.

                Nor are all priest and bishops “honorable men”, by any usual definition of the word honorable. Anyone who values the reputation of an institution nominally dedicated to public service more than the welfare of the people being served is not honorable.

              • Miss_Beara

                Yes it is hateful towards women. The “life” of a nonviable fetus which will kill the woman but the Catholic owned hospital refuses to do an abortion that will save her life because the fetus still has a heartbeat despite the fact that it is slowly KILLING HER. “Sometimes I might be wrong but I do my best”? Whoops, the woman died because we didn’t allow her an abortion now her family and friends will forever be without her, but we sure did our best! Your analogy is wrong.

                The link you posted above said this: “Whenever a child is actively killed, even as a means of protecting the mother’s life, that constitutes direct abortion.” So protecting the life of a woman is not important because to you and the Catholics direct abortion is a big no no, even if it prevents the death of a human being.

              • Alix

                It is not hateful towards women.

                If that’s not hate, I don’t think I want to know what would be.

                Oh, wait.

              • SphericalBunny

                For your analogy to work, assume you have now been informed the medication is harmful to your children. Worse, it could kill your children. Even worse, there are different medications available that are not harmful. Your children have even told you (as was the case with Halappanavar) that they don’t want your medicine, they want the non-harmful stuff. You continue with your medicine regardless. Your kids get damaged and possibly die.

                You haven’t described love in the slightest. You have described forcing your stupid beliefs on people regardless of evidence, and regardless of whether they agree. It’s not just hateful, it’s bloody minded vile contempt.

              • Duke OfOmnium

                “The priests and bishops are honorable men trying to do their best to serve those that they love.”

                “They’re doing their best” is the sort of plaintive whine you give when you realize just how badly they’re failing. But keep trying.

                • tsig

                  When they want an excuse they’re just men, when they want authority they’re vicars of Christ.

              • http://twitter.com/docslacker MD

                Some parent so who take a literal reading of the Bible beat their children into fearful compliance. They believe they are saving their kids from eternal damnation by whipping them with a rubber hose until their little bodies are black and blue.
                But because the intentions are “honourable,” we should do and say nothing about their truly despicable actions?

              • Tobias2772

                SJH,
                I am sure that you would like to continue with your pleasant daydream that the Catholic faith knows better than the rest of the world and has everybody’s best interest at heart. It must be a lovely fantasy, but the evidence has been piling up against it for centuries. We are all just asking you to wake up and take a look at said evidence. You might actually like this waking world better in the long run. C’mon and join us – it’s fun.

              • tsig

                I thought priests and bishops were called to be representatives of god not just men doing their best.

              • Charles Honeycutt

                Willful ignorance that results in negative consequences for others is malign. Malign behavior is hateful. There were excuses for your ignorance before information was widely available. You haven’t had those excuses for several decades now. You are now malign.

          • Sven2547

            What I said is entirely true, and this weaselly excuse is hardly a justification.
            The intent of the procedure does not change the fact that it is both harmful and unnecessary.

            • SJH

              Are you saying that the Church takes an official position on a specific procedure? I think you are still misunderstanding the issue here. Every circumstance needs to be looked at individually. Can you point to some documentation or something that states the Church’s teaching on this particular procedure?

              • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-W-Busch/578120211 Michael W Busch

                You have the internet. Please use it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_Church_and_abortion#Ectopic_pregnancy (15 seconds on Google).

                • Miss_Beara

                  Isn’t it shocking that women can make their own decisions regarding their own bodies? Apparently we don’t even need celibate men in robes telling us what goes on in the womb!

                  Shocking, just shocking I tell you.

              • Miss_Beara

                I think you are the one misunderstanding the issue here. The Church has no business dictating what goes on in our wombs.

              • Stev84

                You don’t even know what you own death cult believes and mandates. Why do you even bother opening your mouth (or moving your fingers)?

          • Miss_Beara

            from your link

            “Whenever a child is actively killed, even as a means of protecting the mother’s life, that constitutes direct abortion.”

            First off, not a child nor is it killed. Secondly, protecting the woman’s life is last on their list. “Direct” abortion is evil to them so by that sentence, they would rather let the woman die or have serious or life threatening health problems the rest of her life, than to give her an abortion.

            You can word your Catholic apologetics all you want, it won’t change the fact that the church hates women.

          • RedGreenInBlue

            From the answer at your linked page, the very first words:

            Let’s look at what the pope said: …

            To the best of my knowledge, Pope John Paul II was not an expert on ethics, embryology, developmental neurobiology or any other relevant discipline, nor did he ever personally experience the terrible dilemma faced by parents-to-be when a developing foetus threatens the life of the mother. The process which elevated him to the papacy was (and is) under the influence of old single males whose attitudes on the subject are similarly influenced by a theology much of which doesn’t even have the merit of coming from that mash-up of historical tidbits, allegory and plain fabrication they claim to be divinely inspired, but was developed later by *yet more men*. So let’s look at what the pope said, and then let’s put it aside and ask some people in a position to give an informed opinion.

            Even granting that according to Evangelium Vitae Catholics are allowed to turn a blind eye to a termination if, say, uterine cancer is detected during a pregnancy, I note that the answer to which you linked says that they are not allowed to terminate if the threat to the mother’s life comes from the presence of the foetus itself – even though in both cases, the direct result of the intervention is exactly the same. This is sophistry, and human life is worth rather more to me than winning a hair-splitting contest.

            In any case, what happens in practice is that this theological intrusion into medical care causes confusion and delay in treatment. When this causes the death of a woman (who might have gone on to have more children had she lived, let alone continued to lead her own life and contribute to society) and the orphaning of her existing children for the sake of a single foetus, it is in no way “pro-life”.

          • Spuddie

            It is hateful to force women into choices concerning their own body to fit a religious agenda. It is not the role of a church to coerce people into following their dogma. It is an inherently hateful and disrespectful position.

          • Charles Honeycutt

            Sven understands and explains the position very well. That you can’t bring yourself to look at the inevitable ethical consequence of the position is your issue, not his.

        • Skulander

          Yup. The Catholic Church has always hated women. It’s high time people realize the harm that religion does in this world, and campaign for a secular society.

        • Miss_Beara

          And that shows that they aren’t even 100% fetus. What if she wants a child in the future but can’t because of a completely unnecessary surgery? So now it is non viable fetus>possible wanted healthy fetus>>>>>>>>women.

      • C Peterson

        “Disgust” would be a better word. Of course, both disgust for and hatred of the ideas espoused by the Catholic Church are justified in the eyes of many. Certainly, the Church has done nothing that merits respect. And there is little that is crazier in Christian doctrine than the utterly absurd idea that we should love everyone. The very concept devalues love to something meaningless.

        • SJH

          Very interesting post. And I agree that “Disgust” is the much better word. I can respect someone being disgusted by another’s actions.
          I am also very interested in this concept that we should not love everyone. Please expand on that.
          Just some thoughts:
          If we are not to love everyone, is there another emotion we should have towards those we do not love?
          Is the opposite of love, hate? If s,o does that me we should hate those that we do not love?
          Or perhaps we would be apathetic regarding those we do not love but it does not have to rise to the level of hate? If we are apathetic about those we do not love then do we just sit by and watch others suffer because we just don’t care.
          Some would say that hate is not the opposite of love but selfishness is. If that is true does that mean that we should treat those we do not love with selfishness? If so, should we be able to act violently towards those we do not love because it is the selfish and therefor the right thing to do in some cases? I can see some consistency in that statement when you look at modern discourse in our internet age. There is verbal violence everywhere towards people that we just don’t love.
          Please expand on that philosophy. In all honesty, I am interested in understanding that thought process.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-W-Busch/578120211 Michael W Busch

            This is not a time or place for discussing subtle wordings of philosophy.

            This is a place for discussing one example of the Church’s continuing policies that lead to people dying, being injured, becoming seriously ill, or being raped.

          • midnight rambler

            If we are not to love everyone, is there another emotion we should have towards those we do not love?
            Among others, there are also contempt and disdain, both of which I feel towards the Catholic Church. You needn’t be so black-and-white in your thinking and emotions.

          • C Peterson

            Of course, like any normal person, I’d say my emotion towards any random stranger with whom I have no knowledge and no interaction is akin to apathy. Why would it not be? And once I know of somebody, or interact with them, the emotion I experience will be determined by their beliefs, by their actions, by their own emotions, and my ultimately range from hate (rare, but normal) to love (rare, but normal). Most people will lie between, and for them I would expect to experience some complex of emotions- mild dislike, admiration, respect… whatever our interaction dictates.

            If I observe somebody being mistreated, they are no longer an abstract stranger. And within limits, I would certainly attempt to reduce that mistreatment… a position that comes from rational ethics, and not any “love” I have for the person being mistreated.

          • tsig

            You seem to have a binary view of life, there’s a whole range of emotions between love and hate so why do you only want to consider the extremes?

          • Charles Honeycutt

            False dichotomies are not successful logic tools.

          • LL

            Did you and your fellow Catholics love Savita? What about other dying women? Because if so, expand on that, please. Required prolong suffering and death for an unviable fetus is NOT love, and if you think so, you’d better come up with a damn good explanation of that. If that is what you call love, you’d better redefine the word. And fast.

          • Isaac

            In all honesty, if you could stop pretending you have some kind of actual knowledge of the subject matter at hand, it would be greatly appreciated.

      • indorri

        We know what the church teaches. There are those of us who are formal Catholics whose religious life was not culturally Catholic.

        I do not care about the brain states of priests who say to love everyone and then goes on to call us disordered.

        • SJH

          If someone thinks another individual is acting in a disordered way, then what is wrong with that person stating such a thing. They are not trying to insult the other. They simply are stating an opinion. This is not about emotions or feelings. This is about reason. If I think my friend’s actions are disordered then what is wrong with me informing him of that? He can either ignore me and I will still love him or he can listen and can take my opinion into account. Either way I still love him.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-W-Busch/578120211 Michael W Busch

            Once again, Libby Anne over at Love, Joy, Feminism has already eloquently explained why you are talking nonsense: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism/2012/08/so-you-say-you-dont-hate-gay-people-part-i.html

          • Space Cadet

            They simply are stating an opinion

            This is about reason

            Well, which is it? I know that opinion and reason aren’t always mutually exclusive, but in this instance they are.

            In your hypothetical, person A is telling person B that, in their opinion, person B is exhibiting some disordered behavior. The problem lies with how that opinion is formed. If the opinion were reasonable, as you later claim, then it would be backed up with facts and evidence. Verifiable evidence. Instead, the opinion is backed up by nothing more than an interpretation of an already ambiguous thousands year old text.

            If someone thinks another individual is acting in a disordered way, then what is wrong with that person stating such a thing,

            Nothing. Likewise, there is nothing wrong with me telling you to STFU the moment you open your noise hole to tell me I’m immoral. Or disordered. Or whatever. You have no right to a captive audience and you have no right to be shielded from criticism of your opinions.

          • tsig

            He might not be so hot on you after that.

          • indorri

            Nothing, if the person is disordered. For example, I am both myopic and astigmatic, disorders of which I was informed from an early age, and which I correct with eyeglasses.

            Homosexuality, conversely, is not a disorder. Attempts to “correct” it fail spectacularly in almost all cases. For someone to call it disordered, therefore, they would be either extraordinarily ignorant or malicious. Again, I do not care about the actual brain states of the person, whether they get that lovely hormonal rush that convinces them that they love someone while at the same time telling lies about them and actively working to make their lives miserable.

            Also, last time I checked, my myopia and astigmatism weren’t cited as evidence for the downfall of society.

          • LL

            And by “love” you mean making sure he knows that you and your entire community think that he is somehow messed up, responsible for the entire downfall of society, responsible for the rape of children, evil, maladjusted and disordered, while at the same time working overtime to make sure he has no rights to live a life with a person of his choosing, raise children or even get access to medical care…. because LOVE. Seriously? I have a cousin who committed suicide because of this “Love” and a dear friend who was completely disowned by his family because of this “Love”. All Catholic Love, by the way.

            You really think that is the definition of Love? Once again. I think you need to write down a careful definition of this “love” that you keep talking about.

      • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

        I’m not hateful, I’m angry. There’s a difference. Do not try to dismiss it away as ill-informed or poorly considered. Your anticipating objections about the RCC’s hateful treatment of homosexuals and women doesn’t magically cancel out the validity of those objections. I cannot have patience or respect for a corrupt, self-serving empire of hypocrisy and greed that systematically victimizes people, and then condemns the victims for being sinful, condemns the whistle blowers in their midst for being disloyal, and condemns outside critics for being “hateful.”

        I do know priests, thank you, and those whom I know are very kind and gentle individuals. But they are characterized as kind and gentle because of the kind and gentle real-world things they do, not because of the dogma they sell.

        A person is what he does, not what he thinks he is, or what he says he is, or what beliefs buzz around between his ears. What makes the reality of each of us in the world is how we interact with the world.

        The same holds true for institutions. The overall effect of the RCC’s actions on people’s lives increasingly goes directly against its own words about kindness and gentleness, words they’ve repeated so often they aren’t actually listening to themselves any more. The hierarchy increasingly serves itself instead of its people, increasingly ignores people’s changing needs in a changing world while they mechanically repeat their unchanging rules that no longer apply, increasingly cast their eyes piously to heaven while they avoid eye contact with the solid human beings right in front of them. The Church teaches to have disdain for the world in favor of adoration of God. They certainly do a good job at the disdain part.

        • SJH

          My experience with the Church is very different than yours. You are making broad sweeping statements about a group of people whom act as individuals. I have not seen anything that reflects what you are saying other than a few actions of a small percentage of clergy.

          They disagree with your assessment of our reality and have a legitimate rational for doing so. If you have anger towards them it is not because of anything they have done but because of what you interpret from their actions. My guess is that it is your judgment and assumptions about their intentions that bring about so much anger. It is judgment and assumptions that are the beginning of hate. The church loves and admires women. It simply disagrees with you regarding what is best for them. (Again, I see it coming, “who are they to tell women what they should do”. As if a person has to be a woman in order to have an opinion about women’s health.)

          Surely the readers of this blog do not believe that the Church sits around trying to figure out new ways to hate women. They are doing what they think is best just as you are for participating in this blog as a contributor. I welcome your blog into the global discussion just as all Christians should and I welcome Clergy into the discussion as well. I don’t wish ill on them and I don’t hope they disappear. That would truly be hateful.

          I apologize for my emotional responses to your post. I hope that it does not give the wrong impression. I am quite upset that people do not show more respect for the priests and bishops of this world who have proven, to me, to be a very loving and thoughtful group of people who almost always put everyone else before themselves.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-W-Busch/578120211 Michael W Busch

            The church loves and admires women. It simply disagrees with you regarding what is best for them

            Again, it is largely irrelevant what members of the Church intend, or what the institution as a whole proclaims, when it advocates policies that are wrong and cause great harm.

            • SJH

              Please read my response to a similar comment below to Duke OfOmnium.

              • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-W-Busch/578120211 Michael W Busch

                I did. You appear to have completely missed the point. Yet again: having good intentions does nothing to change the fact that many of the Church’s policies are provably wrong and cause great harm to a significant fraction of the population of the world.

          • Hamilton Jacobi

            What is their legitimate rationale for doing so? By “legitimate” I assume you mean it has some evidence to support it. What is that evidence? (Hint: There is no evidence to support the existence of a “soul,” if your definition of “soul” is something other than an emergent property of a physical brain. Such emergence does not occur until the brain is well developed.)

          • Miss_Beara

            They can have an opinion about it but their opinion doesn’t mean a thing.

            People who are allowed to tell me what is medically best for me. Myself and my doctor.

          • Geoff Boulton

            People earn respect, it is not an automatic right just because someone claims to have magic powers. Of course priests are ‘nice’ people, I’ve never met a beggar who wasn’t ‘nice’ to the people he wanted to fleece. Are there any genuinely nice priests, of course, but … for good men to do evil that takes religion. They didn’t mean to do it? it’s not as if they are uneducated men (no women allowed) and nobody has told them of the harm they are doing, is it? If so many priests are such nice guys then why do they, as an institution, continue covering up child abuse, putting the reputation of the church before the children in their care. Even if I accept their ‘dogmatic’ reasons for supporting abortion, banning contraception, refusing to admit women, etc. I don’t remember reading anywhere in the bible ‘thou shalt do all thy can to protect child molesters’. It’s your right to get ‘upset’ when people don’t automatically confer ‘demi-god’ status on your chosen ‘holy’ men, but it’s also our right to get extremely angry when we see the continual stream of harmful nonsense, taught as ‘truth’, because a particular interpretation of a particular very old book says so!

            • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-W-Busch/578120211 Michael W Busch

              good men to do evil that takes religion

              That is not quite true. For good people to do evil things only takes their being wrong. That is not limited to religion, although religion is a way for wrong ideas to continue to be held regardless of evidence to the contrary – as far too many of the Church’s policies illustrate.

              • Geoff Boulton

                Yes, let’s play ‘semantics’ and ignore any of the points made.

                • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-W-Busch/578120211 Michael W Busch

                  Your points about the Church have merit, and I did not mean to imply otherwise. But it is still important to recognize that religion is very far from the only source of problems in the world.

                • Geoff Boulton

                  Yes, there are many other problems in the world but how many of those problems actively resist attempts at resolution based only upon the imagined ‘wishes’ of imaginary entities?

              • Charles Honeycutt

                The “good men to do evil” line is far from absolutely true. I think though that it may be closer to absolutely true than you think. Many, MANY of the wrong beliefs that are used to convince people to do evil things are essentially religious in nature, even when they lack a supernatural component.

          • http://twitter.com/docslacker MD

            As a woman and a former Catholic, I wish the Catholic Church would stop concerning themselves with my life.

          • RobertoTheChi

            I am quite upset that they fight against rights that everyone should be entitled to (women, gay, etc). I find it a loathsome religion and I will not make any apologies for that.

          • rustygh

            Oh my goodness no, the church does not love and admire women. They direct and control women and feel it is OK to do so. Please go back and read and listen to what those men preach.

          • Stev84

            So people don’t know what’s best for them. Their doctors don’t know what’s best for them. But a couple of old men in pointy hats who don’t even know those people, know what’s best. This is precisely why you and your church are considered insane and are ridiculed.

          • http://www.facebook.com/crystalwheel Crystal Bandy Thomas

            Are you insane? Where in reality do you reside?

            “The church loves and admires women. It simply disagrees with you regarding what is best for them. (Again, I see it coming, “who are they to tell women what they should do”. As if a person has to be a woman in order to have an opinion about women’s health.)”

            This is just wrong for you to say, you have no right…at all.

          • tsig

            What part of letting the woman die was the best for her?

          • allein

            I am quite upset that people do not show more respect for the priests and bishops of this world who have proven, to me, to be a very loving and thoughtful group of people who almost always put everyone else before themselves.

            Why should the words “I am a priest” automatically command respect from anyone who isn’t a believer in a religion that says priests deserve special respect simply because of their job title? Just because they have “proven” something to you doesn’t mean the rest of us have to defer to your judgment. I don’t know any priests, personally, but if I did, and knew them to be good people, I would respect those particular priests because I know them to be good people, not because they are priests. That respect would not automatically extend to anyone else in the same job.

            • Miss_Beara

              Agreed. Trust me, I’m a priest. Um, no thank you. People who have no problem with deaths of women, rape of children, denying and lying about condoms in Africa… why should these people deserve respect? It deserves all of the contempt, ridicule and anger it gets.

              • allein

                Exactly. “I am a [insert religious leadership title here]” says only that you have gone through some sort of religious training program that bestows that title on you (and in some cases, not even that). It says nothing about what kind of person you are.

          • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

            (Again, I see it coming, “who are they to tell women what they should do”. As if a person has to be a woman in order to have an opinion about women’s health.)

            And again, you try the same tactic for a second time, anticipating the obvious objection to your statement, as if that somehow defeats the objection before it even arrives. No, it doesn’t. Since you foresee the challenge to the weakness in your argument so clearly, then answer the question yourself!

            Yes, who are these people to make life-or-death decisions and policies about women’s health and lives? My objection is not that they’re men, it’s that they are not doctors. They are priests who hire doctors and tell the doctors what they can and cannot do if they want to work in that hospital. They have no better claim to be authorities about a patient’s best interests than any rain forest SHAMAN shaking his gourd rattle and claiming to be getting his instructions from the Spirit of the Great Tree.

          • allein

            The church loves and admires women. It simply disagrees with you regarding what is best for them.

            Do you have any clue how utterly patronising that sounds?

            Female does not equal child. I am an adult person with a functioning brain, who happens to be female; I am perfectly capable of making decisions about my own life, with the help, when necessary, of trusted friends/family/professionals, without the interference of a religious body that I do not believe has any special authority. The church can believe whatever it wants, and it can tell its flock how they should live their lives, the flock can choose to follow if they want, but when they start to interfere in the laws that I have to follow, or in limiting my access to entirely legal medications or procedures because they think their god doesn’t like them, they are entirely out of line.

            • sware73

              Yep, that line jumped straight out at me as well & it was rather a challenge keeping my lunch down while reading it. But frankly it sums up the church in a nutshell. Making it their life’s work to “decide what is best” for everyone.

            • Geoff Boulton

              Unfortunately, religious thinking too often does consider not just women but all of humanity to be just part of some celestial kindergarten. A kindergarten full of children whose ‘loving’ daddy ran out on them a couple of thousand years ago, leaving the school bullies in charge, and hasn’t been seen since. No wonder the religious have to put so much effort into constantly reaffirming, ‘daddy loves us, he’ll be back soon’. It would be funny, if it wasn’t so tragic.

          • LL

            You haven’t yet addressed the primary issue of this conversation, which is why you (or the Church) think it is best that a woman should be made to suffer and die for an inviable fetus. Please answer that. How on earth is that “what is best for the woman?” You’d better have a damn good answer for that.

            The other issue: My body is none of your business. Full stop. You don’t get to dictate what is best for me, and neither do your out-of-touch leaders.

            The third issue: The Church is forcing its own dogma on people who are not members of the Church. Not only is Church dogma wrong, but that isn’t even the whole story. You do not have a right to force others to live and die based on your ridiculous beliefs, even though your Church teaches you that it does. Would you have the same tolerance if Jehovah’s Witnesses owned most of this country’s hospitals and decided it was for “everyone’s own good” that nobody was allowed blood transfusions, regardless of the situation? I highly doubt it. But your beliefs? Well, they need to be enforced no matter the costs, right?

            Stop saying that we don’t get it and explain yourself. If you think that we are so stupid and ignorant that we simply don’t understand the glorious Truth you seem to somehow hold, then EXPLAIN IT. And do a good job. We’re waiting.

      • Carmelita Spats

        I am Mexican and grew up with PLENTY of “genital-free” priests in the Mexican Opus Dei as well as the Legionarios de Cristo. I grew up with pinches padrecitos de mierda from the time I was knee-high to a disturbing dogma and I have enough tongue for ten rows of teeth to continue attacking the vicious pedophile cult. I loathe the history of your maladjusted virgins in my country…Unlike Richard above, I have exactly zero respect for members of an organized crime syndicate engaged in covering up the sexual torture of children no matter how “gentle” and “decent”…Celibacy? Research these “gems”…

        1. http://www.bishop-accountability.org/

        2. http://patrickjwall.wordpress.com/

        3. http://www.elmundo.es/america/2010/12/04/mexico/1291429000.html

        4. http://www.boston.com/globe/spotlight/abuse/

        5. http://www.proceso.com.mx/?p=324327

        6. http://www.alternet.org/belief/50-reasons-boycott-catholic-church

        How to prevent priest abuse? Tell kids the truth, “And remember, when we say ‘adult,’ we actually mean ‘priest,’ and you should never be alone with one unless the door is wide open or some other adults know where you are or there is a giant window in the room through which other wary adults or perhaps police officers can see if said priest begins to give the holy sacrament to your crotch.”

      • http://absurdlypointless.blogspot.com/ Tanner B James

        Your rebuttal begs these questions:

        Would a salesman be successful in his endeavors if he didn’t (w)holy believe in the product he is selling?
        Could it also be true that the salesmen having full knowledge of his product be able to take advantage of the buyers ignorance?
        Knowing what he knows, about the product he is selling, could he possibly twist the truth to close the deal?
        Is there a difference between a priest and a shoe salesmen? (They both sell soles/souls.)
        In my opinion, my errancy is not proof of divine omniscience. I see my errancy as the impetus of my intellectual enlightenment; my continued pursuit of understanding of the natural world. My gut reaction when poised with an unanswerable question is to find a dictionary or an encyclopedia, I do not turn to gawd or for that matter a priest. Tell me what has science not answered that theism can?
        You stand here before us in defense of your church proud in your knowledge. You are steadfast and without doubt, you know what you know because the church says this is how it is. Is it not true that your religion bemoans pride? Proverbs 16:18,19

        • Stev84

          Plenty of salesmen know that what they are selling is crap. That’s the whole point of marketing. Convincing people to buy stuff they don’t necessarily need. Even if it’s for them.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-W-Busch/578120211 Michael W Busch

        Perhaps patience and respect would be better virtues to work on.

        There can be no respect for policies that lead to unnecessary deaths of hundreds of women and to avoidable and serious trauma for tens of thousands. There can be no respect for policies that cover up and enable thousands of instances of rape. There can be no respect for policies that lead to many thousands of cases of sexually-transmitted disease that could otherwise have been avoided. All of those are currently policies of the Catholic Church (in order: restricting access to abortion, covering up sexual abuse committed by priests, and opposing the use of condoms).

        Individual Catholics very often do have good intentions. But those intentions are irrelevant to the harm that the policies of the Church do. People are entitled to respect. Ideas and policies are not.

        And do not make the mistake of thinking that the readership is ignorant of the teachings and policies of the Catholic Church and what the consequences of those policies are. Both sets of information are amply and publicly available. I encourage you to read up on the latter, since you appear to be sorely misinformed – most particularly on the harm that restricting abortion does. And since this is Patheos, I refer you over to Libby Anne’s blog: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism/2012/10/how-i-lost-faith-in-the-pro-life-movement.html

      • rustygh

        You’re blind.

      • Spuddie

        Its amazing how patience and respect is only a one way street when it comes to churches. Especially the Catholic Church They demand respect but never give any in return.

        This incident is a perfect example of failing to give even a modicum of respect to others such as the college, its graduating students, and the city of Boston in general. Rather than be in contact with one who may believe differently than himself, the Archbishop disrespects the entire school and its students. That is hateful. Commenting on it is not.

        It is not hateful to point out the bad acts of others or how shamefully a church treats others. The Catholic Church has been acting very badly indeed when it comes to its actions in the healthcare industry.

      • Charles Honeycutt

        You sound extremely ignorant of Richard Wade’s history. He’s incredibly patient and respectful. He has made a lifelong career of it. His guest posts here have left me awestruck and a bit envious of his ability to treat people with the utmost respect, except for the child-rapist enablers that you are going out of your way to make excuses for. You need to pay attention to context and understand what you’re talking about before speaking.

        It’s telling that you can’t actually argue with the points made, only complain about them existing. Telling and typical.

      • http://profiles.google.com/smuckitelli Michael Neville

        “After all, the source of hatred is ignorance.”

        Unfortunately for this argument, people here have a lot of knowledge about the Catholic Church and its anti-humanist ways. Supporting and defending pedophiles is just one facet of how the Church shows its hatred for people. When the pedophile scandal broke the Church accused atheists, Jews, modern morality, homosexuals, Hollywood, and the children themselves for the actions of pedophilic clergy and the hierarchy who protected them. Almost everyone else was blamed except for the Church.

        Right now the Church is “investigating” American nuns for not denouncing abortion and homosexual marriage and spending too much time on trivial things like giving aid to the poor, the disabled, and other disadvantaged people. The shame of those nuns, actually caring about fellow humans!

        A group of professional virgins want to deny their employees, many of them non-Catholics, medical insurance coverage for contraception because Baby Jesus cries whenever a woman takes The Pill.

        Do you want me to go on? I haven’t even mentioned Savita Halappanavar or the lies told about condoms and AIDS or the many other examples of Catholic anti-humanism.

      • http://www.flickr.com/photos/chidy/ chicago dyke

        “get to know a priest” no, thanks. i don’t socialize with pedophiles, rapists and con artists.

    • JohnnieCanuck

      Somewhere in there you probably covered their involvement in running hospitals. I think it is something that really needs to be emphasised and worked on. Rather than pulling out of the Catholic Hospital business, they are taking over more and more hospitals.

      I understand they are deliberately doing this as an end run against secular forces in the US. Once they have all the hospitals in an area locked up, good luck in getting proper obstetric or gynecological care.

      • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

        Yes, that is true. It’s one business they’re not pulling out of, not yet. Well, if they get a hospital monopoly in an area, then as the bodies of the women like Savita pile up, as the lawsuits pile up, and as the medical malfeasance scandals pile up, a new industry of small, affordable, women-centered clinics will spring up to compete for the dissatisfied public.

        • Monala

          But clinics aren’t enough. Clinics can handle routine, 1st trimester abortions. But what about women needing late stage or crisis abortions? Most clinics can’t provide emergency care, nor do they have ICUs. And what of the women who have to die in the meantime? It’s more important to try to stop the hospital monopoly than let it get to that point.

          • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

            I agree.

  • Seamus Ruah

    /Butthurt.

  • Leonard Kirk

    Boston College is better off without this shithead. Fuck him.

    I would say something more eloquent but it’s been a long day.

  • SJH

    You are suggesting that the bishop disagrees with having the Prime Minister speak because of this one piece of legislation for which you give a very biased and one sided description. I think it is more complicated than you suggest. Perhaps we should be a little more honest here. It does not make any sense to select a pro-choice leader to be a speaker at a Catholic university. This should be obvious.

    • decathelite

      Newsflash: the majority of Catholics in the USA are pro choice.

      This is about a Catholic priest not wanting to share the stage with someone who would save the life of a mother in a life threatening pregnancy but would be happy to share one with a guy who enables kiddie fucking.

    • Sven2547

      And yet a pro-choice leader will speak at this Catholic University. Eppur si muove.
      The Archbishop could have chosen to act like an adult, but instead he will throw a tantrum. This will only further the implosion of the Catholic Church as a political force and the world is better for it.

    • JohnnieCanuck

      Calling him pro-choice is fairly disingenuous of you. He is almost as anti-choice as it is possible to be. Irish law will continue to make it a crime for both doctors and women to participate in an abortion even if this bill passes.

      Would it be fair to say that you believe a woman should not be able to get an abortion, even if she is going to die without it? That is all the change is intended to fix.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-W-Busch/578120211 Michael W Busch

      You are suggesting that the bishop disagrees with having the Prime Minister speak because of this one piece of legislation

      Hemant isn’t “suggesting” anything here. He’s reporting what O’Malley said. From the boston.com article that Hemant linked above:

      In his statement, O’Malley said the church considers abortion “a crime against humanity’’ and he noted that Kenny has been “aggressively promoting abortion legislation’’ despite opposition from church leaders in Ireland.

      You appear to be throwing out accusations of bias and “one sided description” without having done the research necessary to support them.

      And, as others have noted, Kenney’s support for abortion rights is aggressive only in the sense that it clarifies the existing and far-to-restrictive Irish laws.

  • Miss_Beara

    So he doesn’t think it is a “crime against humanity” to deny women abortions when they are going to die because a dying fetus is more important than her? The dying fetus is more important than her life, her children’s lives (if she had some), her spouse’s, her parents? That is the true crime against humanity.

    Another crime against humanity is the decades long abuse of children. It is just another example how these anti choice people care more about zygotes and fetuses then human beings.

  • phhht

    If altar boys could get pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament.

    • Miss_Beara

      They would say that some vague passage in the bible actually promotes abortion and would add it to the sacrament list.

      • midnight rambler

        Exodus 21:22 states quite plainly that even causing the death of a fetus by violence is not equivalent to murder.

        • tsig

          Romani 6;66

          If a priest shall lay with a boy as with a girl and an issue result that issue shall be declared and abomination of Satan and destroyed by fire, water, maceration or poison as seems convenient.

          Received by Divine Revelation on this the 18 day of May two thousand and thirteen years from the Birth.

  • A3Kr0n

    The students will be in his prayers, which is the same as actually doing something, so they’re covered, right?
    /s

  • http://twitter.com/cyanmoon1 Virginia Gamely

    Just a quick comment-

    To call Enda Kenny a “pro-choice politician” is, in my view, wholly inaccurate. All he is supporting is legislation which will allow doctors to perform an abortion when the woman’s life is at risk. This does not include cases of rape, incest or fatal foetal abnormality. So even if a teenager is raped by her uncle and the foetus turns out to have anencephaly or some other condition which means it won’t survive outside the womb, that poor girl will STILL have to fly to England or elsewhere to have that pregnancy terminated. Think about that. So much for ‘choice’.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=553145445 Gordon Duffy

      He’s taking a very small step with extreme reluctance and the Irish situation is such that this is seen as a big (ish) deal. I think Enda is personally anti-choice but sees that is not what the Irish people want.

  • rustygh

    Trust me your all better off that Archbishop O’Malley won’t be there.

  • Randomfactor

    It’s not a TRUE protest unless the Archbishop holds his breath until he turns blue, as well.