I’ve hesitated commenting on Cardinal O’Malley’s self-disinvite from BC’s commencement. He seems to be a smart guy. I don’t know why a supercardinal would resort to the tired old strategy of boycotting a college’s honorary speaker.
In the past, on these pages, I’ve wondered openly why a bishop doesn’t take the platform at prayer time to offer a few choice words about the sanctity of life. I mean: it’s not any more impolite than to suggest a booked speaker be disinvited or to decline to attend oneself.
I do appreciate Cardinal O’Malley’s frustration. We have forty years of frustration in this nation, and it hasn’t netted a whole lot of progress. That is, if we judge progress by the evolution to a tamped-down rhetoric in the culturewar. To my knowledge Enda Kenny has not had an abortion, or performed one, or paid for someone to have one performed. So he’s not in excommunication territory here.
I’m not sure that pro-lifers could say that about the people behind the Made-in-China products that stock their shelves and cabinets at home. There are alternatives to shopping Big Box Buy. But let’s leave that aside for the moment.
I observe a line of dominoes:
- We can’t convince women not to have abortions, so we make it difficult for clinics.
- We can’t convince clinics not to provide abortions, so we target doctors and other personnel.
- We can’t convince providers to stop, so we plant our hopes on politicians.
- We can’t convince politicians, so we go after voters.
Now we have a person three-times removed (at least) from the actual moral decision who is the target of a boycott. The boycott seems rather fussy to me. Archbishop Dolan is friendly enough to eat with pro-choicers. And since it’s highly unlikely Mr Kenny is going to trumpet on the virtues of unlimited abortion-on-demand, the whole exercise on the Cardinal’s part seems rather impotent.
No unborn child will be saved. But any way he moves ahead, ill will will follow. Too many pro-lifers have generated too much blood-lust on the issue, three or four times removed from a decision over which they have little to no influence.
A lack of influence is a terrible thing for a leader to suffer. But we can’t blame it on abortion, can we?