Profile in Cowardice
Administrators caved into the political views of Worcester bishop Robert J. McManus and cancelled the commencement address of Victoria Kennedy, apparently because her views were not politically correct enough. Of course, we can't know what those objections are, because the bishop refused to sit down with the widow of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy.
We can only assume that the leader of the local diocese objected to her positions on abortion, gay rights and insurance coverage for contraception. No word if he was also perturbed about her views about pedophilia.
Of course, since Kennedy hasn't made those issues the centerpiece of her talks we can't be sure what they are. No need to worry about details. Kennedy noted his open mindedness:
“He has not consulted with my pastor to learn more about me or my faith,’’ she said. “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.’’Not that her words matter to the church leader:
McManus declined to comment, but diocese spokesman Ray Delisle said his actions were consistent with the US Conference of Catholic Bishops’ 2004 statement “that Catholic institutions should not honor Catholics who take positions publicly which are contrary to the Catholic faith’s most fundamental principles."The church's arrogance in lay matters like freedom of speech is well known. More troubling is the craven capitulation of an educational institution, a supposed "liberal arts" one at that. In its statement announcing the dis-invitation of Kennedy, they whimpered:
"...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.’’A.J. Liebling once famously noted "Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one." Ronald Reagan brought it into the modern age when he declared "I'm paying for this microphone." Anna Maria College's weak-kneed submission to the Worcester Diocese offers a unique view of the intersection of the freedoms of religion and speech. At two institutions that we as taxpayers subsidize no less.
But college administrators can take some sort of perverse pride that they have given their students an unforgettable educational moment.