Massachusetts prolifers lament Catholic school's choice to honor pro-abortion cabinet member

Marty Walsh, United States Secretary of Labor under Joe Biden, who will be given the Blessed Edmund Ignatius Rice Medal by Catholic Memorial School April 1, 2022. Marty Walsh, United States Secretary of Labor under Joe Biden, who will be given the Blessed Edmund Ignatius Rice Medal by Catholic Memorial School April 1, 2022. | Shawn T Moore/Department of Labor (CC BY 2.0)

A coalition of Catholic and pro-life organizations in Massachusetts is speaking out against the decision of a Boston Catholic school to honor U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh with an award named for Blessed Edmund Ignatius Rice. 

The award is meant to recognize an individual who shares their God-given talents and resources to improve the lives of others.

But Marty Walsh, who was Boston mayor from 2014 to 2021, is not improving the lives of the unborn, says the spokesman of the Massachusetts Pro-Life Coalition, William Cotter. 

"The award to Marty Walsh is a shameful betrayal of core Catholic moral beliefs and an overt violation of the prohibitions contained in Catholics in Political Life,” Cotter said in a March 14 statement. “It demonstrates a depraved indifference to the slaughter of 63 million unborn children since Roe v. Wade."

Catholic Memorial School is an Edmund Rice Christian Brothers college preparatory school in Boston’s West Roxbury neighborhood. The school has announced that they will be granting the former mayor with the Blessed Edmund Ignatius Rice Medal at their Spring Gala in April. Bl. Rice was founder of the Christian Brothers.

Walsh was Mayor of Boston before being confirmed as the U.S. Secretary of Labor for the Biden administration. The former mayor, a Catholic, has been an avid supporter of abortion rights in the Bay State. 

CNA asked Catholic Memorial if they considered Walsh’s abortion stance when deciding to grant him the award. 

A spokesman for Catholic Memorial, Michael Persson, told CNA March 14 that they are aware of the pro-life group’s denouncement and added that at the gala “A few hundred alumni, school families and generous supporters are helping us raise much needed scholarship funds, which are given to more than 60% of our students, many of whom would not be able to attend our school without the aid.”

Tuition at Catholic Memorial for the 2022-23 academic year is $25,450.

Cotter told CNA that Walsh has gone “above and beyond” in promoting the acceptance of abortion and said that the school should rescind their decision.

He added that “most of us Catholics are disturbed at the inconsistency with which the Catholic hierarchy holds accountable public figures within the Church with respect to the issue of abortion.”

Superintendent of Boston Catholic Schools, Tom Carroll told CNA that Catholic Memorial is independent of the Archdiocese of Boston.

And Archdiocese of Boston spokesman Terry Donilon referred CNA to Catholic Memorial when asked if the archdiocese agreed with the choice to honor Walsh.

In 2016, the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL) gave Walsh the “Men for Choice” award, which, in a tweet, he called “an honor.

In his 2017 re-election campaign, Walsh received the endorsement of Planned Parenthood, which he also said was “an honor.”

As mayor, Walsh was a supporter of the state’s ROE Act, which expands abortion access past 24 weeks of pregnancy in cases when a physician deems it “necessary to protect the patient’s life or physical or mental health, or in cases of lethal fetal anomalies, or where the fetus is incompatible with sustained life outside the uterus.” 

The ROE act also allows 16-year-old girls to attain an abortion without the consent of a parent or judge, according to NPR. The act was passed in 2020.

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Walsh earned the congratulations of NARAL in 2021 when he was appointed to the new presidential administration’s cabinet. 

Cotter commented: “Catholic Memorial was founded to educate and foster good catholic youth to grow up and assume positions of leadership and responsibility both within the secular realm and within the Church.”

“So what kind of example are they setting by saying that this guy gets the honor because he donated money or he helped bring the unions in or donated resources to the school? Once again, it's like saying that mammon takes precedence over truth,” Cotter added.

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