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U.S. Catholic college cans Kennedy speech, blames bishop


A small Massachusetts Roman Catholic college rescinded its invitation to Vicki Kennedy to speak at its graduation ceremony this spring, saying the local bishop objected to honoring the widow of the liberal lion Senator Edward Kennedy.

A spokesman for Worcester Bishop Robert McManus declined to say why exactly he objected to the choice of Kennedy, a member of the most prominent Catholic family in U.S. politics.

“Bishop McManus is acting, he feels, consistently with what all of the U.S. bishops asked colleges or higher institutions to do going back to 2004, that they not honor … Catholics who take a public stance or position on issues contrary to things that the Church is trying to teach,” said Raymond Delisle, a spokesman for the diocese.

Kennedy said she was “disheartened” by the public rebuke.

“I am a lifelong Catholic and my faith is very important to me,” she said in a statement. “I have not met Bishop McManus nor has he been willing to meet with me to discuss his objections.”

She said that by opposing her appearance at the college, the bishop “has made a judgment about my worthiness as a Catholic.”

Senator Kennedy, a Democrat, was a liberal standard-bearer during his nearly 47 years in office and an advocate for abortion rights — a stance that ran afoul of church teachings. His elder brother John F. Kennedy, the first Catholic president of the United States, was assassinated in 1963.

The school, Anna Maria College of Paxton, Massachusetts, apologized to Mrs. Kennedy.

“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,” it said in a statement. [more]





  1. [...] relationship with the Bishop and the larger Catholic community, its options are limited,” it said in a statement. “Bishop McManus is acting, he feels, consistently with what all of the U.S. [...]

  2. Michael says:

    It’s obvious why! She’s an admitted abortionist. I say, “Shame of the College” for putting the bishop in the predicament. Their administrators should have known better. It would have saved a lot of rediculous brow beating from so-called Catholics who, “like sheep in wolves clothing” lurk in the darkness ready to pounce upon any bishop who stops and abortionist from speaking. Ed Kennedy was frightened to die and asked the Popes Prayers. I’m sure that he knew that he was going to stand before God, the creator of all, and have to explain his pro-abortion stance. So will his wife and others if they continue to way to bring, “scandle to these little ones.” Look it up for yourself what Christ Himself said that would happen to them.

  3. Margaret Conzulo says:

    You know separation of church and state? What happen to that!

  4. AMC Graduate says:

    A small Catholic school is not Notra Dame. Vetting was missing. I wonder if the invitation was really a strategy to gain a donation.

  5. Tomas says:

    As a Catholic priest and graduate of all Catholic schooling including a doctorate, I am disgusted. What has happened to the Church’s teaching of the primacy of the well-informed conscience and the right to free speech in the public domain?!

    • Kevin says:

      I am also a Ph.D. in theology from Fordham University so let me offer an opposite view. The reason for the rescinsion is I believe (since this is not clarified in the article) because of her public position on abortion. There is no way a politician who calls herself Catholic and wants to speak at a Catholic college and yet states a public position that is contrary to the Catholic position on life should be allowed to speak on a Catholic platform. Moreover, you are a bit mistaken about well-formed conscience because that presupposes seriously considering the Magisterium’s position on the issue in the formation of the conscience – it does not mean that anything goes under the name of ‘primacy of conscience’ (cf. CCC) And, her rights to free speech in the public domain are not being abridged as she is free to speak anywhere else! Your position on that is just a distraction from the real issue at hand – namely Catholic Politicians claimint they are devout Catholics and yet having such a diametrically opposed position on abortion vs the Church’s teaching, e.g. Pelosi.
      Let me ask you an hypothetical – if she spoke out in defense of active euthanasia in her public comments because Ms. Kennedy believes that is morally acceptable in her ‘conscience’, would you be ok w that position being advocated on the stage of a Catholic college?

      • Steve says:

        Thank you,Kevin, for your clear and enlightening statement. Would that Tomas, who makes a point to identify himself as a priest, had been educated in one of today’s more faithful and thriving seminaries. Many priests, from a period prior to John Paul 11 seem more ready to defend dissidents than the Church they represent.

    • MichaelW says:

      Anyone who advocates abortion clearly does not have a well-formed conscience.

  6. Rosemary Davis says:

    Shame on the Church! Shame on the bishops! When we treat lifelong Catholics with public disdain and judgmentalism, what message are we sending?

  7. soh says:

    Disgraceful that any administrator who is going to intercede in these decisions doesn’t have the presence of mind to give advance ground rules. It’s an embarassment to all concerned when an invitation has been extended and then rescinded.

  8. Eileen Kovatch says:

    Reminds me of Notre Dame inviting Obama to speak at graduation a vew years back! Good for the Bishop for wanting speaker’s views to be consistent with Church teaching. Guess that’s why I’m never invited to speak, either!

    • soh says:

      and when ND invited Reagan who cut aid to the poor and went on a nuclear spending spree against the wishes of the bishops, or when Bush jumped into unjust war against the Pope’s wishes (nevermind the US bishops’ deafening silence).

    • Steve says:

      Thanks, Eileen, for your comment. I say the same: “Good for the bishop” and for all those who are not afraid to speak out and defend and protect the TRUTH!!

  9. Carl says:

    Doesn’t it seem hypocritical? He and other hierarchs honor many who support for war, torture, economic injustice goes unremarked. They look the other way.

  10. How very typical. I think she is a very great lady.

  11. Tony says:

    It seems to me the bishop has a power and control issue. Too bad.
    He won’t let Kennedy speak and he doesn’t say why.


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