A Massachusetts Catholic college has scrapped plans to have Victoria Kennedy, Ted Kennedy’s widow, deliver its commencement address, citing her support for marriage equality and abortion rights.
Robert J. McManus, the bishop of Worcester, Mass., pressured Anna Maria College in Paxton to cancel Kennedy’s speaking engagement and an honorary degree the college was to give her, Religion News Service reports. A spokesman for McManus said the bishop believes Catholic schools “should be honoring Catholics for their consistent public positions with the church, not for contrary positions with the church, especially on core issues such as the right to life and the sanctity of marriage.”
Actually, Victoria Kennedy has not been particularly outspoken on these matters, but her late husband was a strong advocate for LGBT rights and women’s reproductive freedom during his long tenure in the U.S. Senate. She issued a statement saying she was “disheartened” by the cancellation but understood the college’s position. Anna Maria College officials said they regretted withdrawing the invitation to Kennedy but had to take the action to maintain good relations with the local Catholic hierarchy. Read more here.