A small Catholic college that invited Victoria Reggie Kennedy to speak at its spring commencement has rescinded the offer under pressure from the Worcester bishop, who described her apparent political views as out of line with Catholic teachings.Anna Maria College in Paxton, west of Worcester, released a statement today placing the decision at the feet of Bishop Robert J. McManus and saying it still believes Kennedy is an appropriate choice.But now they know, she isn't. And every student in the school now knows, along everyone who reads story.
"However, the statement continued, “after hours of discerning and struggling with elements of all sides of this issue, the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees decided with deep regret to withdraw its invitation.”
Alicia Savo, Anna Maria’s student government president, said she that while she had been excited to hear Kennedy speak, she trusts the bishop’s judgement in the matter.“I feel bad that they had to disinvite her, and she took it very decently,” Savo said. “But I don’t think the bishop would have said he didn’t think it was a good idea unless it wasn’t a good idea. I understand where he’s coming from.”Deo Gratis.
Anna Maria, a independent liberal arts college with 1,100 students, is deeply entwined with the diocese; last night, its president attended a dinner with McManus. Its statement notes that “as a small, Catholic college that relies heavily on the good will of its relationship with the Bishop and the larger Catholic community, its options are limited.”Amen brother. Amen.
“He has not consulted with my pastor to learn more about me or my faith,” read the statement. “Yet by objecting to my appearance at Anna Maria College he has made a judgment about my worthiness as a Catholic. This is a sad day for me and an even sadder one for the Church I love.”The facts are, there is a very long and public record to base judgments upon, including her husband's funeral where she used the Sanctuary of the Catholic Church to promote dissent from Church teaching with a long list of speakers and prayer petitions that repudiated Church teaching.
Patrick Whelan, president of the national Catholic Democrats and a longtime acquaintance of the bishop, said he had spoken in-depth with McManus and found him adamant on the issue.“He’s always been very warm with me, but he struck a combative tone about this from the first moment: ‘I am not happy about this; it has put me in a very difficult position,’” said Whelan, who also is a pediatric specialist at Harvard Medical School. The bishop, he added, invoked what he believed were Kennedy’s positions on divisive social issues, including abortion, gay rights, and health coverage for contraception.
Whelan also said the bishop took responsibility for his decision during their conversation.“I said, ‘I’m sure you must be under a lot of pressure from people in the conservative camp’ -- I was trying to express some empathy -- and he reacted very sternly to that too,” said Whelan. “He said, ‘this is my decision and mine alone, and nobody’s pressuring me to do this.’ But then he did add, ‘sometimes it’s lonely at the top.’ ”First of all, who is Whelan in this scenario that he is put in a difficult position?!!Is this chumley stumping for speaking engagements within the Catholic Church for democratic political cronies who repudiate Church teaching?