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Cardinal Sean O’Malley Prays for the Deaths of Women

Cardinal Sean O’Malley Prays for the Deaths of Women

BOSTON, Mass.—Boston Cardinal Sean O'Malley is one of a group of religious leaders who has been chosen to advise Pope Francis on “Church governance and reform of the Curia” in the aftermath of the revelation of massive sex abuse by clergy that was allowed to continue for decades because of the Church’s refusal to deal with its congenital culture of pedophilia. Well, they've found the perfect guy to advise the pope on such a serious matter—after all, Cardinal O’Malley is so devout that he knowingly condemns pregnant women to death in the name of his faith.

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That's an awful thing to say, but there is no other conclusion one can arrive at in the aftermath of the Cardinal's decision to boycott Boston College graduation ceremonies on May 20, where he was to give the final benediction, because of the Jesuit school's refusal to disinvite Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny as the commencement speaker. O'Malley profoudly opposes Kenny's support for a bill in Ireland that would relax the country’s absolute prohibition on abortions to allow for situations where the life of the mother is at risk.

According to the Huffington Post, “The latest [Irish] bill is being debated following last year's death of Savita Halappanavar, who was 17 weeks pregnant when she was hospitalized at the start of a protracted miscarriage. She died of massive organ failure after doctors refused her request for an abortion.

“The bill,” continues the article, “permits a single doctor to authorize an abortion if the woman's life is in immediate danger, requires two doctors' approval if a pregnancy poses a potentially lethal risk and mandates three doctors' approval if the woman is threatening suicide.”

Unmoved, O’Malley on Friday issued a statement calling abortion “a crime against humanity” and taking direct aim at BC, “Since the university has not withdrawn the invitation and because the Taoiseach [prime minister] has not seen fit to ­decline," he said, "I shall not attend the graduation.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.’’

The last comment refers to a call by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops that Catholic institutions refuse to recognize officials who promote abortion rights.

Boston College, to its credit, has not bowed to the Cardinal’s tactics. For the second time this week, a school spokesperson said the instituion “supports the church’s commitment to the life of the unborn," and defended its decision to keep Prime Minister Kenny onboard, saying he was invited because of the school’s close ties to Ireland.

“Prime Minister Kenny has encouraged individuals to read the bill and his position statement, which reaffirms the constitutional prohibition on abortion in Ireland and attempts to clarify and regulate Ireland’s ­response to the ruling of the ­European Court of Human Rights,” said BC spokesperson Jack Dunn.

Reading it won’t matter to O’Malley and his ilk, however. They know what is in it, and they still reject the effort of a country that already has the most restrictive abortion laws in Europe to find a way to protect the lives of women who already face a devastaing decision either way. Now these Irish women have O'Malley sticking his nose in their affairs, arguing his spitirual prerogative trumps their earthly ones?

Boston's Cardinal wrote Friday on his blog, “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 in 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."

In other words, BC grads, Cardinal O'Malley wants you too to pray for abortion laws that not only allow women to die, but manifestly express the will of the state (and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and O'Malley, and you) that they do die. The state, after all, is the force actively preventing medical procedures from taking place that would save women’s lives. The fact that the state comes down in favor of the unborn child to the fatal detriment of the living mother, who may very well have other children, does nothing to mitigate the fact that it alone is the main facilitator of the mother's death. Fully cognizant that this is the case, Cardinal O’Malley, in praying to prevent exceptions for the life of the mother, is as a direct consequence praying for the death of the mother.

Of course, O'Malley may very well pray for both a total ban on abortions and also that no pregnant women die during pregnancy, but if so it would be even more intellectually dishonest of him. He simply cannot have it both ways; if the former prayer is brought to fruition (by the state), that act ensures that the latter prayer will not come true and that women will die. No amount of prayer will stop that from happening. Proof positive that such compartmentalizing of prayers is empirically impossible.






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Ann Oui

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