Pro-family activism that makes a difference!

Catholic activists stage effective pro-life protest at Boston College. Cardinal changes plans; international newspaper coverage; Boston liberal media inflamed!

This is the way the pro-family movement ought to be working!

POSTED: May 29, 2013

This month the Catholic Action League of Massachusetts staged one of the most successful anti-abortion protests in memory. It influenced the Cardinal to change his plans and made newspapers around the world. It severely angered the liberal talking heads in the in Boston media.

The Catholic group Tradition Family and Property joined the protest
outside of the Boston College graduation.

It started when Boston College, a nominally Catholic university run by the Jesuits, had invited Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny to address their May 20 graduation ceremony and receive an honorary Doctor of Laws degree. Kenny's government had recently introduced legislation to weaken the anti-abortion laws in Ireland to permit abortions under certain conditions.

Catholic Action League denounces invitation of speaker

This caught the attention of C.J. Doyle, Executive Director of the Catholic Action League and an alumnus of Boston College. Kenny's selection was particularly upsetting because traditionally the Archbishop of Boston attends the graduation and delivers the final benediction.

C.J. Doyle, Executive Director of the Catholic Action League, outside of Boston College.

On May 6, the League issued a press release condemning Kenny's selection. The League's press release didn't mince words:

On April 30th, Kenny's coalition government introduced legislation with the Orwellian title "The Protection of Life during Pregnancy Bill 2013," which would legalize abortion in Ireland under the guise of preventing the suicide of pregnant women. As there is no gestational age limit to the measure, it would mean abortion on demand, under threat of suicide, through all nine months of pregnancy.

Catholic hospitals would be forced to comply with the proposed law. Moreover, the bill contains no conscience clause protections for physicians, nurses, and other health care workers.

The Catholic Church has denounced the measure and called upon the Irish people to lobby their elected representatives to oppose it. Cardinal Sean Brady, the Primate of Ireland, said the bill, if approved would "make the direct and intentional killing of unborn children lawful in Ireland." Brady went on to say that: "It is a tragic moment for Irish society when we regard the deliberate destruction of a completely innocent person as an acceptable response to the threat of the preventable death of another person."

Kenny has threatened to expel pro-life Catholic TDs (members of parliament) from his Fine Gael parliamentary party if they refuse to vote for measure, which is expected to be acted upon in July.

Later that same day the press release reached the pro-life news site LifeSiteNews, which immediately published an article about it.

League alerts Massachusetts Catholics to take action

The following day, May 7, the League and Operation Rescue sent out general action alerts to their members and Catholics across the state to protest the selection by contacting top Boston College officials.

The League also asked Catholics to contact the Archbishop, Cardinal Sean O'Malley. The League noted in the alert that Cardinal O'Malley is also the Chairman of the Pro-Life Activities Committee of the U. S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

In addition, the League made it known that they were organizing a protest at BC on graduation day.

Two days later, on May 9, the Irish Times, the "paper of record" in Ireland, published an article about it, quoting CJ Doyle.

From there it got the attention of the Boston Globe. On May 10, the Globe published an article, "Boston College defends choice of speaker for commencement" citing the League's press release and Boston College's decision to continue as planned with the speaker.

Cardinal O'Malley announces he will not attend!

However, later that same day, May 10, the Cardinal formally announced that he was withdrawing from the graduation event and would not attend. Apparently, the League's reach to Catholics across the state made an impact. O'Malley told the press that abortion is a "crime against humanity" and said he decided not to attend the ceremony, because Boston College didn't withdraw its invitation and Kenny didn't decline it.

As the Cardinal said on his blog:

I am sure that the invitation was made in good faith, long before it came to the attention of the leadership of Boston College that Mr. Kenny is aggressively promoting abortion legislation. The Irish Bishops have responded to that development by affirming the Church's teaching that "the deliberate decision to deprive an innocent human being of life is always morally wrong" and expressed serious concern that the proposed legislation "represents a dramatic and morally unacceptable change to Irish law."

Later that day the League issued a press release thanking the Cardinal for his action. In the release, Doyle said:

We are delighted by the Cardinal's withdrawal and commend His Eminence for his forthright and unambiguous statement criticizing Boston College and Enda Kenny. BC's invitation to Kenny clearly contravenes the policy of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops prohibiting Catholic institutions from honoring adversaries of Catholic moral teachings.

Front-page Boston Globe article cites League's action!

The next day, on May 11, the story made the front page of the Boston Globe. As the Globe described on page 1:

The announcement from Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley upped the ante in a debate that earlier in the week had pitted Boston College against the Catholic Action League of Massachusetts, a group that opposes abortion rights and had strongly criticized the university for inviting Kenny.

The Boston Globe on May 11, 2013

. . . along with the expected spin

The Globe, along with the rest of the media, portrayed Prime Minister Kenny's position as merely supporting "narrow abortion rights legislation" that "would permit abortions if there is a real and substantial threat to the mother's life, including from suicide." Needless to say, that is not how the Catholic Church and the League read the proposed law.

Along with that, they consistently would bring up a tragic case of a woman who recently died in Ireland because she was denied a "a lifesaving" abortion. However, Doyle responds that according to the inquest, the woman's death was actually caused by a medical misdiagnosis, and that women in Ireland are not dying because of the laws banning abortions.

But if you needed any more help figuring this out, the Globe article quoted Martha Walz, the president of Planned Parenthood of Massachusetts, who praised the selection and called Kenny "an appropriate commencement speaker."

The media firestorm starts

The Boston media's chattering class, which couldn't bring itself to report with any depth on the horrific Gosnell abortion case, came to life with this one. The following all appeared on the same day, May 14:

Boston Globe Editorial praising Boston College. Praised Boston College for standing by its invitation and made the interesting statement -- typical of the liberal press -- that Boston College should not be encumbered by Catholic teaching:

O'Malley is entitled to avoid Kenny if he wants. But as a Catholic institution, Boston College has to strike a difficult balance, upholding church teachings while providing an open academic environment to a diverse student body . . .

Boston Globe columnist bashes Catholic Action League. You know you're on to something when the Globe's most vitriolic liberal columnist directs his venom right at you. Here's how Globe columnist Kevin Cullen started out his column, "O'Malley's reasoning on BC graduation boycott is flawed":

The only thing I have in common with Ireland's Prime Minister Enda Kenny, besides a sheer, unadulterated love of everything about County Mayo, is that we've both incurred the wrath of a group of local zealots called the Catholic Action League.

These people would be deeply offensive if they weren't so deliciously comical. They are self-righteous, self-appointed keepers of the faith, who especially like pointing out that a la carte Catholics - that is, most Catholics, who use contraception, don't think gay folks are disordered, and believe that people should be allowed to get a divorce -- do not belong in their church . . .

C.J. Doyle submitted a letter in response, and finally persuaded the Globe to published it on May 25. It begins:

Kevin Cullen was so busy hurling insults and invectives at the Catholic Action League that he omitted a few salient facts about Prime Minister Enda Kenny and Ireland's abortion laws, the core issues in the Boston College commencement controversy. . .

Boston Herald column bashing Cardinal for not attending. Cardinal Sean O'Malley goes one step too far. Ultra-liberal Boston Herald columnist Margery Eagan repeated the line that this was all about a woman who died, though she had begged to have an abortion but was denied.

Kenny is responding to outrage in Ireland over the death last year of a non-Catholic Indian woman who was miscarrying and bleeding heavily, went to the hospital, begged for help for three days but could not get an emergency abortion. She died of blood poisoning . . ..

But C.J. Doyle submitted a letter to the editor in response, which the Herald finally published on May 23.

. . . The coroner's inquest found the cause of [Savita Halapanavar's] death to be "medical misadventure" -- an aggregation of mistakes and misdiagnoses -- and made nine recommendations, only one of which was clarifying existing abortion legislation. Under current Irish law, steps can be taken to save the life of the mother even if it leads, indirectly, to the death of the unborn child.

The protest on graduation day attracted more than expected

As the day of the graduation day neared, the League was contacted by other pro-life groups who said they would join them, including Operation Rescue Boston, Students for Life, the Ancient Order of Hibernians and the Catholic activist group Tradition, Family and Property -- which came all the way from Pennsylvania.

On the day of the graduation, Monday, May 20, they protested outside of Alumni Field, where the graduation was held. Doyle had told the press that there would be about a dozen protesters, but over 50 showed up.

The protest drew quite a few alumni including Fr. Jack Harrington (second from right) who was also a well-known BC hockey player.

Associated Press coverage goes around the world

It caused an eruption in Boston, and it was definitely of interest elsewhere. The next day, the Associated Press coverage of the incident was published in newspapers around the world, including:

Washington Post and Washington Times
Montreal Gazette and Ottawa Citizen (Canada)
Manchester Guardian (England);
Belfast Telegraph (Ireland)

The Wall Street Journal also weighed in, with an opinion article. Interestingly, a fairly good article on this appeared in the local Newton Tab newspaper (Boston College is located in Newton, MA).

More good activism needed

We wish that the "mainstream" pro-life groups would do this kind of thing, but too many of them seem to be afraid controversy and name-calling by the press.

We say "good job" to the Catholic Action League!

Activists of all ages showed up that day!