Celebrating the Santo Cristo Festival

I want to begin this week with this statement I issued earlier today:

Because the Gospel of Life is the centerpiece of the Church’s social doctrine and because we consider abortion a crime against humanity, the Catholic Bishops of the United States have asked that Catholic institutions not honor government officials or politicians who promote abortion with their laws and policies.

Recently I learned that the Prime Minister of Ireland, the Hon. Mr. Enda Kenny was slated to receive an honorary degree at Boston College’s graduation this year. 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.” 

Since the university has not withdrawn the invitation and because the Taoiseach has not seen fit to decline, I shall not attend the graduation.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 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.

– – –

This year I was invited by Bishop Antonio de Sousa Braga to preside at the Santo Cristo Feast on the island of San Miguel in the Azores.

I was accompanied by Father Walter Carriero of Saint Anthony’s in Cambridge, my priest secretary Father Jonathan Gaspar, and Father Kevin O’Leary the rector of the Cathedral. SMiguel_20130505_160638_photo (23)

We were there with hundreds of Portuguese and Portuguese-Americans from Cambridge, Hudson, Stoughton, Fall River and New Bedford who make the pilgrimage every year to Ponta Delgada for the magnificent celebration of Santo Cristo.

Friday, we arrived in time for the lighting of the city, which is just stunning.20130510_photo1

The procession, which lasts for about four hours, goes for miles through the city. The whole way, there are beautiful carpets of flowers and colored sawdust.20130510_photo6SMiguel_20130503_210607_photo (31)SMiguel_20130504_161704_photo (29)20130510_photo720130510_photo4

This is a picture of the Pope Paul III who sent the original statue to the people.20130510_photo10

It was given to the Poor Clare nuns who visited him to seek his permission to establish the first convent on the island. He granted it, and gave them this statue of the Ecce Homo (“Behold the man”) as a gift.SMiguel_20130505_204929_photo (18)

It is kept in the convent of Nossa Senhora da Esperança that was once a convent of Poor Clares with over 100 nuns. Now, another order, the Concepcionistas, runs it and holds beautiful retreats and other events in the convent. It is a very beautiful place.SMiguel_20130504_181649_photo (14)

The devotion began when there were terrible earthquakes on the island in the early 1700s. The people made a procession with the statue, asking for God’s protection. During the procession, another earthquake hit causing the statue to fall down, but when it hit the ground the earthquake stopped and the people proclaimed it a miracle. This feast has been celebrated every year since. It draws many thousands of people from the Portuguese-speaking world who travel to the Azores to participate.

There are number of Masses, all night vigils and processions that involve virtually the entire population of the island. As I mentioned, the procession stretched for miles and, on that entire route, there were crowds on both sides of the street.SMiguel_20130504_170455_photo (11)SMiguel_20130504_170501_photo (12)SMiguel_20130505_120432_photo (25)

Of course, there were many, many bands.SMiguel_20130505_201616_photo (16)


It was notable to see how people dressed up to attend the procession – the way that people used to dress up to go to Mass. It was also impressive to see the quiet respect that they had. This is not a parade where you see people holding drinks in their hands and eating hotdogs. The people are there to pray.

There is also a penitential aspect to the feast. Many people make “promesas”, pledges to the Lord, and many of them pass in front of the image on their knees or carry large candles.

It really is an extraordinary demonstration of the religious fervor of the Azorean people, and is celebrated by them wherever they are in the world. For example, this weekend St. Anthony in Cambridge will hold their own Santo Cristo Festival.

– – –

On the way back, we traveled through Lisbon and visited the home of Saint Anthony of Padua.20130510_photo15

This is a baptismal font where he was baptized.20130510_photo11

This is the Chapel where he was born.20130510_photo12

This statue of Saint Anthony stands in front of the church that was built over his house.20130510_photo13

– – –

Every year, our Office for the New Evangelization for Youth and Young Adults holds their annual awards banquet to honor those who work in this important ministry.

Since I was unable to attend the banquet this year, I have asked Father Matt Williams, the director of the ONE office, to share some of his reflections with you on the awards and other works of his ministry.

I leave you with the reflections of Father Matt:

Thank you, Cardinal Seán, for the invitation to share about our current events on behalf of the ONE Team.WILLIAMS_MATT

On Tuesday April 30th we were privileged to host the 22nd Annual Archdiocesan Awards Banquet (5th Banquet hosted by ONE). This year sixty-four Awards were given to middle school and high school teens, young adults, adult leaders and two priests, representing over thirty communities throughout the Archdiocese of Boston. It was a great night that showed forth the diversity of cultures, ages and ministries within the Archdiocese, and how each member, when they take the call to follow Jesus seriously, can make a difference in building up the Body of Christ. 8697616076_e6c3484bb3 GM3_0603.JPG8696536377_99d2b74bf5 GM3_0701.JPG8697610528_a9d1c78b7e GM3_0587.JPG

We were blessed to have a number of invited guests from the Pastoral Center in attendance at our celebration. We are especially grateful for the presence of Bishop Robert Deeley and the insights he shared with us as our guest speaker. Drawing on the wisdom of Pope Francis, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, and his own experience, he emphasized the importance of ministry to young people and of the New Evangelization. 8697688396_46a7fc0c75 GM3_0720.JPG

Bishop Deeley spoke about his involvement in CYO as a boy and how it gave him a solid foundation for life, rooting him in the faith of the Catholic Church. We pray that many vocations will come forth from our youth ministry programs! After Bishop Deeley spoke, he and Mr. John Straub, Chancellor of the Archdiocese, presented the awards to the recipients.

This Banquet is an important part of our year as it gives us an opportunity to recognize and celebrate the grace of our Lord at work in the lives of our young people and their leaders. It is vital for them to know that we see Jesus Christ alive in them, and that their lives are making a difference in our communities. By naming and affirming the light of Christ shining through them, it encourages our young people and leaders to continue to live their Christian witness in service to the Lord and neighbor. We could say that this event, and others like it, fans the flame of faith that is burning within.

At the end of the gathering, I had the privilege of being able to address our honored guests, and their families and friends. 8697672668_b5dfbb2634 GM3_0713.JPG

I shared that as Catholics we are very familiar with stain glass windows and how they are beautifully crafted to communicate to us some aspect about our faith in the Lord and to point us to heaven. The effectiveness of the stained glass windows relies upon the sun; the more brilliant the sun, the greater the beauty of the stained-glass window. Each of these honored guests, uniquely and wonderfully proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ because they have drawn close to the SON. It is His rays that illuminate their lives and shines forth so powerfully through them, drawing others to seek Christ, the Light of the World. May all of us be inspired by their witness and seek to draw closer to Christ, our Light.

On another note, we are very excited about our upcoming pilgrimage to Rio de Janeiro for World Youth Day (WYD) with Pope Francis. papa_19042013164303

The WYD Committee is expecting over three million pilgrims to attend from all over the world. This international gathering of young people is a Catholic experience of a lifetime. At World Youth Day young people encounter the Gospel of Jesus Christ in many varied ways: the presence and witness of our Holy Father, Holy Mass, Confession, dynamic catechesis, festivals, concerts, shows, diverse cultural expressions of the faith, the size of the universal Church gathered, and the lived witness of Bishops, Priests, Deacons, Married Couples, Leaders, and peers. All of these components create a dynamic recipe, a marinade of the faith, in which our young people are immersed. Through these experiences our young people come to understand the personal love of Christ, the importance of being part of the Church, that God has a special plan for their lives, and that He has created them for greatness.

We are so blessed in the Archdiocese of Boston because Cardinal Seán is a strong supporter and advocate of World Youth Day. He not only encourages us to go, but he comes with us! Or rather, we go with him. He is also a great blessing to pilgrims from around the world as he is always in high demand to offer catechesis, in different languages, at different sites during the WYD week. We always try to find out where the Cardinal is speaking and take the young people there to both support him and to be fed by him. After the recent conclave, I am sure demand for him will be even greater! Our young people always look forward to spending meaningful time with their shepherd, and the Cardinal makes it a priority to be with them!WYD LOGO

We are happy to say that we have over 162 pilgrims going to WYD with Cardinal Seán this year. Given there are so many factors that make attending difficult; we are delighted to have such a great turnout. We have a diverse representation going to WYD from Boston consisting of high school teens and their leaders, young adults, the deaf apostolate and different ethnic communities. The diversity of our group is but a small sample of the millions we will encounter. The excitement continues to build! Little did we know when we began this process two years ago that we would have a new Pope; and how exciting it is that our pilgrimage is to Brazil now that we have our first pope from the Americas! Please pray for us and for all the pilgrims; for our safety, and for special graces to receive all that the Lord has prepared for us.

Once again, I would like to thank Cardinal Seán for this opportunity to share with you what is happening in ONE. Thank you for all that you do to help mentor our young people in the faith.

God bless you+

40 thoughts on “Celebrating the Santo Cristo Festival”

  1. I’m a BC PhD grad and just want to say that I support your stand to boycott this year’s commencement. May God bless you and your work!

  2. Dear Cardinal O’Malley,

    On a Sunday morning , I attended Mass and visited the lovely shrine to Saint Anthony in Boston at the beautiful church where you minister. Placed along the pews were sheets of paper containing a statement from you, explaining the power and healing of the scriptural words we use just before receiving Holy Communion ‘I am not worthy to receive You but only say the word and my soul shall be healed”.

    This was, admittedly, a few years ago during the election campaign of John Kerry. Nevertheless, I believed that the explanation you gave was a universal Truth and eternal. I understood you to say that it is Jesus that is allowing us to come forward and that the grace is from God, as nobody is truly worthy, but we place this trust in God.

    So, now I am confused as to your apparent change of mind about the interpretation of these beautiful words of scripture that we utter with heartfelt belief before receiving our Saviour and Lord.

    I do not wish to be confrontational or disrespectful in my approach but I would love to know why you have changed your mind by forbidding this life-giving union that we the faithful are told is ” the source and summit of Christian life”.

    Blessings from Ireland where we have just celebrated the International Eucharist Congress and the recognition that we are all One Body and where one hurts or starves we all suffer and are malnourished.

  3. Enda Kenny is not agressively leglislating for abortion. As instructed by the Irish Supreme Court he, with the Irish government, is legislating to bring our law into compliance with the 1983 amendment to our constitution. Contrary to the intention of the proponents of that referendum this amendment introduced the probability of abortion into the country.
    Can one now assume you will no longer attend any function to which President Obama is invited, and will you make a public statemtn to that effect ?

  4. Thank you for supporting the Lord and standing up for our beliefs about abortion and those who promote abortion (for any reason). I am very proud of you for not wanting to share the podium with the prime minister of Ireland. Maybe our Good Holy Father Frances needs to reform some of the brother Jesuits in this country too. We should not be honoring anyone who decides to serve the wrong master. Love and Blessings
    Pat Richard, OSF

  5. Estimado cardenal:

    Sigo con atención las iniciativas y el posicionamiento de la iglesia católica de EE.UU respecto al aborto. Creo que un cambio en la legislación de su país a favor de la defensa de la vida desde la concepción es fundamental para el resto del mundo. Ayudaría a modificar otras legislaciones en países donde se consiente el aborto. En cierto sentido, los católicos norteamericanos tienen una gran responsabilidad. La protección del nasciturus es, en mi opinión, el hecho más importante al que asistimos hoy para la defensa de la dignidad del ser humano. Millones de seres humanos son destruidos en el seno materno y ante ello muchas personas, también católicas, son incapaces de reconocer ese genocidio silencioso pero cruel que está en contra de la Ley de Dios. Nuestras sociedades se escandalizan hoy ante cualquier acto de esclavitud, que tantos siglos costó superar, mañana nos escandalizaremos ante la atrocidad del aborto. En nuestras manos está adelantar ese mañana. Soy periodista y no me ha extrañado nada que la gran mayoría de los medios de comunicación norteamericanos hayan mirado para otro lado frente al juicio que recientemente se ha seguido contra el abortista Kermit Gosnell. Hay mucha hipocresía en esto. Los mass media actúan como hipócritas en el tema del aborto. Por eso tengo que felicitar su valentía y claridad en su magisterio frente al aborto ,que no lo olvidemos, es también el magisterio de la Iglesia Católica. Desde España, de donde soy, y como padre de cinco hijos y abuelo de cinco nietos, apoyo su decisión de no asistir a la graduación de la Universidad de Boston. Creo que su decisión es la correcta.


  6. The reference to “aggressive promotion of abortion” by Enda Kenny’s government is fully justified by what has happened over the past two and a half years in Dublin. the minister for health, James Reilly set up an “Expert Committee” to study the ABC case and propose a response for the government. The minister restricted the committee’s brief to base its study on the 1992 X case of Ireland’s Supreme Court. This decision declared suicidal ideation a threat to a woman’s life, in no way different from fast-spreading cancer or a serious heart condition. In parliamentary hearings after Christmas, psychiatrists, pro-life and pro-choice, said that abortion is not an appropriate treatment for suicide. Despite opposition from psychiatrists, obstetricians and GPs, the government is going ahead with the suicide provision, and ignoring popular anger over the proposed law. It seems that ideology trumps medicine and the wishes of the people. That is aggressive enough for me.

  7. Thanks you for your courage in refusing to attend the Boston College commencement. Wish others would follow your example!

  8. I am very disappointed that the Cardinal is choosing to boycott the Irish head of state. The Irish legislation is trying to address a very difficult and real issue related to women’s health and the doctors trying to provide care.

    The Cardinal is disrespecting all Irish people – but no surprise, we are used to an arrogant out of touch hierarchy…thankfully, the people still believe in God even if they have lost faith in the Church.

  9. Me permito pedirle, como cabeza de la Iglesia en Boston, una oración por una niña española de nueve meses, Celia, que acaba de llegar a Boston para una operación cardíaca que sólo se hace allí. Oración por ella y por sus padres, que están haciendo un esfuerzo titánico para salvar la vida de su hija.

  10. Your Eminence,

    Thank you so much for standing firm regarding graduation this year. I am torn as it is my younger brother’s graduation, and will most like pray through Mr. Kenny’s speech for him and you. As is typically the case with these situations, the media have descended with cries of hypocrisy, and I only wanted to be a small voice of encouragement to you. You exelmplify Ignatius’ prayer of generosity “to give and not to count the costs, to fight and not to heed the wounds”

    Your booming voice and wise words will be missed on the grandstand this year.

    Doug Deering BC’11

  11. dear cardinal,

    i am very confused in my feelings towards abortion in this stage of my life. i am 57 years of age and have been through many years of catholic education ranging from our lady of presentation in brighton to boston college high school. i have had a uncle a jesuit priest etcc…
    i feel that abortion in general terms is wrong however in certain cases such as rape and incest the mother may feel she has no choice. as we all know from history females inthe catholic church have no voice. even the nuns though historywere never heard or acknowledged from the holy see the way they should have been.
    so its not surprising that the church of today takes on the “holier than thou” attitiude towards women and there feelings.

  12. I’m proud of you Cardinal O’Malley! I’ll keep both you and our Church in my prayers as we continue to fight for all human life.

  13. Even though I don’t support abortion, I do believe that the Cardinal should have attended the ceremony and for this reason;
    to fight the “Good Fight”, to push back the tide of death.

    This weekend is Pentecost. I pray that the Holy Spirit touches
    his Eminence and shows him, that instead of hiding from those that threaten and teach death, that he should go forth and do battle. Not the battle to tear down, but to build up. To build up
    the idea that living and life means opportunities. Abortion is not just killing a child but killing any opportunity that the child could bring to humanity.

    I will pray for him and for Boston College. They either stand with Christ, or they stand against Christ. They are either the wheat or the chafe, the Lamb or the goat (as in scapegoat).
    Several of our so-called “Catholic” colleges are no longer standing
    with Christ, but with “the World” and have forgotten “The Truth”
    and what it means to stand before the world and declare it, for they are afraid of being crucified, but that is what the world does.

  14. Dear Cardinal O’Malley,
    I hope that you read Kevin Cullen’s column in this morning’s Globe and take some time to reflect on it. He raises valid criticisms. I have never understood the Church’s tunnel vision on issues related to sexuality and gender: birth control, abortion, homosexuality, etc. to the exclusion of all the other social issues of our time. The hypocrisy he notes is rampant in your church (what used to be my church as well). I’ll consider returning to church the day that you deny communion to and/or refuse to sit down with any legislator who voted against the Violence Against Women Act; any tax payer who cheats on his tax returns; any man who regularly beats his wife. Your heirarchy of crimes defies logic and sadly, I know you will never even attempt to understand a different point of view. I long for the Catholic Church of my youth, which instilled in me a huge sense of social justice, and so regret that the Church I once loved is so clearly on the wrong side of the most important issues of our day.

  15. As a less than perfect Catholic, you and Pope Francis have inspired me to be a better one every day. You two are birds of a feather. Your strength, piety, humility, humor, and wisdom are an inspiration to me. I think you did the right thing by not going to BC. I admire your courage. God bless you.

  16. Dear Cardinal O’Malley,

    I don`t know if you remember me, I was in your parish in St. Camillus Church in Silver Spriing in the early 70s. My name then was Uva A. Clavijo. You gave a mass at my home for my 29th birthday (I´ll be 69 in July), and also gave my daughter Cristina her First Communion at a mass at our home because she was ill the day she was to receive it. I wrote about you then and I reproduced the article recently in my blog http://uvadearagon.wordpress.com/2013/03/13/el-padre-sean-un-mistico-moderno/ I have followed your work and thank you forall you do. We have never forgotten you. Uva

  17. Dear Cardinal Sean — Thank you SO much for your courage and resolve on your anti-abortion position, RE Kenny et al. Jesus himself is proud of you, I am sure. Faithful By-The-Catechism-Catholics appreciate your help and strength on this issue, to resist the Culture Of Death. Thanks again, and May God let His Holy Face shine on you forever.

  18. Your Eminence,

    You have my deepest respect for standing for the rights of all humanity whose dignity is impinged including the most vulnerable of all, the unborn who have so view voices speaking out on their behalf. God keep you and strengthen you in your ministry.
    Yours in Christ,
    Rodney – Sydney Australia

  19. Cardinal Sean – thank you for your principled stance on the issue of Boston College choosing to invite and honour Enda Kenny – sadly no political party in Ireland have given their members a free vote on the proposal to introduce abortion on the spurious grounds of suicidal ideation – promises and pre-election pledges have been sold for political expediency and the more aggressive pro abortion elements of the Labour Party have seized this opportunity to begin to introduce abortion on demand – this is a time for courage like yours and voices for the unborn who will never receive honorary degrees from Catholic universities such as Boston College who have lost their credibility and show great naïveté in saying this event has nothing to do with abortion – when honour is being given let us give it first to the right to be born – well done Cardinal Sean we need more leaders more like you – God bless and best wishes from Ireland – JohnLeogue

  20. Thanks for not going to BC, Cardinal Sean. It’s encouraging to see that out cardinal has his priorities straight, even if our colleges and universities are confused. Moral clarity is important, especially from a cardinal. I’m glad you are such a cardinal.

  21. Your Eminence,

    Thank you for your decision to boycott the speech by an Taoiseach Enda Kenny. These are currently very dark days in Ireland, in a few years we will celebrate 16 hundred years since St. Patrick brought Christianity to Ireland. Through centuries of persecution the people of Ireland remained faithful to the Catholic faith. Now however, it seems that our politicians cannot abandon all that history quickly enough in their rush to please the secular European Court of Human Rights.

    I’ve written to Mr Kenny to express my horror that Ireland will soon legalise the murder of innocent unborn babies just because a pregnant mother threatens to commit suicide, in the guise that this is protecting the mother. If that were correct all the people who are at the verge of commiting suicide because of their debts should have them payed by the Government. That the threat of suicide is now a legitimate reason for killing one’s baby instead of a reason to provide proper help for the mother is so completely crazy that only we Irish could have dreamt it up.

    Thank you for your principled action. God bless you and may God and St Patrick protect our nation.

    Dr. Patrick Murphy
    County Louth

  22. We have raised our children in a Pro-life home and church; our daughter will be graduating from Boston College with a masters degree that reaches out to the poor and marginalized. Christ came into this world to show us all of that, while sitting with the sinners, I am disappointed that our Cardinal cannot do the same.

  23. tThank you Father for your strength in opposing the Irish Governments proposed abortion law. God bless you and keep the defending our faith. Yours in Christ.

  24. Your Eminence,
    Thank you for the stand you have taken in defence of the lives of the unborn in Ireland. Thank you also for your reference to the “culture of death” at the recent interfaith prayer service in Boston when certain people of importance were within earshot. Today when I pray, I will make a special prayer of thanksgiving for your actions and one of petition that the Lord may change the hearts of men. God bless you, Cardinal.

    Dublin, Ireland.

  25. Sorry Cardinal but, if I recall correctly, I have seen you with Obama and at Ted Kennedy’s funeral. How come you are taking a stand with the Irish leader but you don’t do the same with prominent US leaders? To me it seems like you are just doing this because Ireland is a relative minnow.

  26. I, too, praise God for your moral courage. We need spiritual leaders like you more than ever, and I hope your priest follow your example.

    God love you!

  27. Dear Cardinal O’Malley,

    I want to thank you for standing up for the dignity and sanctity of all life. I know this is an issue that is politically divisive, but the church has a special role in society, beyond politics, to proclaim God’s truth as it is given to know it. While citizens may hold whatever views they choose, the Church and its institutions should not waiver from this special role. I am disappointed in the decisions of Boston College’s leadership, because if indeed the college is an institution of the church, then it too should seek to support and proclaim the fundamental aspects of Catholic Christianity. The sanctity and dignity of life from conception to natural death is one of those foundational elements of our faith and not a matter on which reasonable Catholics can reasonably disagree.

  28. Dear Cardinal,
    Thank you for your decision not to attend the conferring of Enda Kenny with an honorary degree at Boston College. It is a wonderful witness to the Culture of Life. Contrary to pro abortion propaganda, the requirement to introduce abortion legislation is indeed not necessary. Successive Irish governments since 1992 have chosen not to introduce legislation that would comply with this decision as they know it would lead to the slaying of innocent babies. There is no constitutional requirement for the government to bring forward legislation if the government believes the legislation would be bad legislation. Enda Kenny has unfortunately given into the demands of the extreme left of Irish politics, namely the Labour party, whom he shares power with.

    God Bless

    Eamonn Henry

  29. Thank you for your evangelization and above all not to honor politicians who promote abortion.You are really brave, we need persons like you.
    God bless you.
    S. Ferrari – Italy

  30. Thank you Cardinal O’Malley for your principled stand in the matter of Boston College and Enda Kenny. I wish we had more leaders like you.
    It is true that an infamous Irish supreme court judement (the ‘X’ case) did rule that the threat of suicide was sufficient grounds for an abortion but a faulty judgement (no medical evidence was heard) does not justify the proposed legislation. Prior to the last election, Enda Kenny’s party claimed they were opposed to abortion and would not legislate for the X case (hence I voted for them). His government has ignored all the medical and psychiatric evidence at recent Oircheatas (parliament) hearings that abortion was not a treatment for suicidality. He is refusing to allow members of his party a free vote on this issue. I think the term ‘pushing for abortion’ is fair.
    This is a moral issue, the fundamental human rights question, and a matter of natural justice.
    I hope Boston College will reconsider its invitation.

  31. Dear Cardinal Sean,
    Mr Kenny did not contest his last election on the course he is pursuing now. His Fine Gael party manifesto did not even mention the issue. The Labour Party which has a pro choice agenda looks to have extracted this concession as the price of being in Government. Members of their party have described it as a first start.
    The opposition party Fianna Fáil despite passing prolife statements at their recent party meeting cannot decide whether they support the leglislation or not.
    There is no real opposition to this except the church. The criticism will be enormous, but keep going. We need a voice.

  32. Praise to you Your Eminence–we will continue to pray for our Catholic clergy to have the moral courage that is needed in these “dark” times. Thanks you for speaking out!! How can we get some of your fellow Archbishops amd Bishops to do the same all over this country??

  33. I am so proud to see you stand up to Boston Collage for honoring a Pro Abortion commencement speaker. In this day of ” Political Correctness” and the ever changing attacks against our church’s teachings, we need more leaders like yourself. Keep up your good works.

    May Our Dear Lord Bless You,
    Casey M. Ladowski

  34. Your Eminence,

    Great post this week! I enjoyed learning more about the WYD plans and am heartened to see so many young people recognized at the recent Award Ceremony.

    Most of all, thank you for your moral courage shown by your speaking out against BC giving an honorary degree to a pro-choice elected official.

    You are in my prayers.

  35. Your Eminence:

    The problem seems to be the ambiguity of defining what endangers a woman’s life. I understand that the proposed Irish legislation includes suicide as a potential threat to a woman’s life.

    The bad news is that the bad guys take advantage of that ambiguity to portray the hierarchy to be senseless monsters. I recently wrote Cardinal Dolan in his capacity as President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops saying that I was beginning to see opportunity in the pro-life debate.

    From the reactions that I am getting to what I am writing about the debate, I see a light at the end of that tunnel. Secular Americans need to be convinced, and frankly anything that smacks of religiosity loses the argument with them. In order to win the battle, Catholics need to speak “secular,” and that there are good and valid humanistic reason why abortion is bad.

    I am not suggesting that Catholic speakers/writers abandon their beliefs, merely that they realize that in certain situations “they are ineffective and/or counter-productive in communicating with non-religious people. Ironically, mention of religion, the Bible, etc., are seized on by proponents of abortion as evidence that the opponent of abortion is a mindless zealot who is incapable of thinking for himself.”

    My letter was seven pages long, and contains suggestions about non-religious arguments to use. If you are interested, I could attach it to an email, or send a copy by snail mail.

    I continue to learn. Just last night I was talking about it with an old friend, and he quoted another old friend who happens to be a doctor who persisted in using the phrase “with child.” When he explained, I realized that the phrase is both beautiful and incredibly accurate. It also helps to repudiate one of the arguments about how we misogynists are trying to control a woman’s body.

    The situation between you, Boston College, and the Irish Prime Minister allows the press to paint you as one of the “mindless zealots.” May this layman suggest that you give some thought to that and how to counter it.

    The tide is shifting. We need to keep the momentum going. I am enthused about possibilities.

    Sincerely and respectfully,

    John O’Donnell

  36. The reference to an “aggressive promotion” of abortion legislation by Ireland’s Taoiseach (prime minister) is grossly inaccurate. In fact, Mr. Kenny has ignored the issue, as has virtually the entire complement of our nation parliament, for an astonishing 20 years and 2 referenda. What is occurring in Ireland now is that legislation is finally being passed to put into effect a Supreme Court ruling from 1992 – so your position, Cardinal, in publicly denouncing this process is in effect a plea for illegality. Kenny is simply doing his job, and your protest smacks somewhat of he type of influence religious figures have in certain parts of the Islamic world today.

    I cannot help but wonder if this is, in fact, a delayed reaction to Kenny’s spirited reaction to the Cloyne report on child molestation in Ireland, which was read by some as an all-out denunciation of the Catholic Church? If so, it is rather cowardly, and reveals a worrying hypocrisy – as a cardinal, you are perfectly willing to continue to associate yourself with an institution which involved itself in decades-long socially-embedded abuse of children and adults in my country, a situation which has never been sufficiently addressed by a corporately culpable church, and then you refuse to sit in the same room as our democratically-elected prime minister, who (albeit reluctantly) is doing what the highest laws of our state demand of him with the current legislation. This is morally hypocritical and also disrespectful to Ireland and its people. What’s more, it reveals how the arrogance of the institution to which you ascribe is leading to its rapid decline in Ireland today.

Comments are closed.

May 2013