Catholic college withdraws speaking invitation to Kennedy’s widow


A small Catholic college that invited Victoria Reggie Kennedy to speak at its spring commencement has rescinded the offer under pressure from the Worcester bishop, who described her apparent political views as out of line with Catholic teachings.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.

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.”

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.”

Kennedy, the wife of the late US Senator Edward M. Kennedy, published her own statement noting that the bishop refused to meet with her despite her overtures.

“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.”

Read more.


  1. Lord forgive them, they know not what they do.

  2. I can’t imagine what good will be accomplished by this decision to disinvite.

  3. Why invite if you might dis-invite? Hard feelings on all sides.

  4. pagansister says:

    If nothing else it was totally rude and disrespectful of Mrs. Kennedy to first invite her and then say “sorry,you can’t come and speak because the bishop objects!” What was/is the bishop afraid of anyhow? What a shame—-

  5. “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.”

    Kennedy? Check!
    Pro Abortion? Check!
    Married To Serial Adulterer Ted? Check!
    Huge Ego? Check!

  6. Elizabeth Scalia says:

    Sheesh. A bit reactionary, no?

  7. I suspect Bishop McManus knew exactly what he was doing. Mrs. Kennedy, along with Nancy Pelosi and Sister Carol Keehan, received signing pens from the president for their efforts to promote Obama’s healthcare mandate. The one that will force Catholic institutions to abandon their faith or close their doors in providing contraceptives. She supported her husband’s role in pushing the legislation through. Surely the college can find other speakers more in line with its Catholic educational mission.

  8. midwestlady says:

    Good. A parade of dissenters receiving Catholic college honors is the last thing the Church needs. I’m sure that Victoria Kennedy will survive, and so will the college. And so will all the people out here with an axe to grind.

  9. Are here’s to you, George:

    Cheap shots? Check!
    Mean spirit? Check!
    Judgmental (rashly)? Check!
    Malicious? Check!

    Not a nice way for George to begin Holy Week? Check!

  10. Kathy Schiffer says:

    Hurray for midwestlady! It is good to see the bishops standing for the Faith. Their past history of overlooking the shenanigans at Catholic colleges has led to so many Catholics–like the Kennedys–wrongly believing that “I’m OK, you’re OK” with regard to abortion.

  11. pagansister says:

    George, the disrespect continued when said bishop refused to at least speak to her pastor to learn more about her. What a guy!

  12. Deacon Greg Kandra says:

    I hope that if anybody ever has the ridiculous idea of inviting ME to give a commencement speech, and then decides to disinvite me, they do it for a good reason and not because of my “apparent” beliefs — which are “apparent,” I guess, because of the woman I chose to marry. (That would give my wife a good laugh.)

    This seems like over-reaching to me.

  13. I’m no fan of Ted Kennedy politics, but I wonder if since his death, Vicki might have had a change of heart on some things that Ted supported that were against church teachings.

    I know it’s a long shot, but if so, that would have been a more than worthwhile encounter. I would have to think that the topic must have come up during discussions.

  14. Assuming the worst without encounter hardly seems like standing for faith. Do we know a single thing that this woman has ever said or done? Perhaps you do and I do not. And since she was invited… and the bishop could have chosen to speak with her directly. When we cheer who gets shoved aside, more loudly and joyfully who we welcome in Christ, I suspect that we are on thin ice.

    I am not defending her – but I am not decrying her or rejoicing in the “we’ll show them” attitude that seems to prevail. So much for being Hosanna people this weekend…

  15. midwestlady says:

    That doesn’t qualify her to speak at a college commencement. The only reason she might be asked is because she is Ted Kennedy’s widow, and the dis-invite addresses that very fact. Let’s be honest.

  16. midwestlady says:

    “Do we know a single thing that this woman has ever said or done?”

    On what grounds, then, should she warrant being an honorary speaker at a commencement? You and I both know why she was asked. She’s Ted Kennedy’s widow and this is Massachusetts we’re talking about here.

  17. Perhaps…sending the message that the Catholic Church is neither punching bag nor cafeteria line. That education is serious business and that colleges seeking commencement speakers should aspire to something higher than marquee name dilettantes (capable of writing a handsome check).

  18. You mean the healthcare bill that will mean my brother, who has a terrible and expensive pre-existing condition, will now have access to health care? You mean the healthcare bill that will allow me to keep my 24 year old son on my health plan and not throw him to the wolves? You mean the healthcare bill that might mean my uncle, who’s in assisted living and has seen his house sold and savings drained, might have a chance to not go bankrupt? I’m so sick and tired of the simplistic condemning of “Obamacare”. At least this was an attempt to help the weakest among us, which I’m pretty sure is in line with Catholic teaching.

  19. Of course it’s a cafeteria line. However, as long as you choose the anti-abortion and anti-gay marriage speakers, you’re OK. Today, to some, that’s all that’s required to be a good Catholic.

  20. midwestlady says:

    PS, the tag that our host on this blog has used in WordPress says it all:
    “Tags: Ted Kennedy”
    And that is a cut & paste.

  21. a sad day for me and an even sadder one for the Church I love.”

    It’s always sad when a Kennedy has a bad day, but she needn’t fret about the Church. The Church will be fine.

  22. I disagree mwl. If by some chance she has seen the wrongs of Ted’s way and has had a change of heart back to church teachings, it would indeed qualify her to speak of it. If she loves the church as much as she says she does, maybe this is the case. Again, it would be nice to know exaclty what she was going to speak about before we all throw her under the bus.

  23. Henry Karlson says:

    Even then, if you claim to be pro-life, and are a Republican, but say, become the first president to endorse the federal funding of embryonic stem cell research (and encourage companies to do it without such funding!), it’s ok — GW Bush is allowed to speak!

  24. Henry Karlson says:

    It is over-reaching, it is guilt by association. I mean, how many Republican speakers will have to be disinvited now for what their spouses say?

  25. Sorry, but the Church is not a cafeteria line, and does not operate by the principle that “the customer’s always right”. Un-American, I know — but there it is.

  26. I agree it’s not a cafeteria line. However, I think there are many who see abortion and gay marriage and contraception as essential, and they don’t consider themselves “cafeteria Catholics”, even though they pick and choose among many other teachings that they might not find as “non-negotiable”.

  27. hear hear

  28. You don’t think the blood from millions of dead babies that Kennedy’s legislation and his wife pro-abortion stance had anything to do with it?

    NARAL awarded a 100% pro-abortion voting record to the Massachusetts senator.

    The Catholic Action League of Massachusetts on Sen. Ted Kennedy – “one of America’s most notorious opponents of Catholic morality.”

    ‘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.

    So to honor a women who is pro-abortion is the anti-thesis of what a Catholic institution should honor with a public platform.

  29. There are really not enough facts in evidence to make a judgement on this board.

  30. Patrick, Let me refer you to Cardinal Dolan’s many fine statements on the healthcare measure as it exists. It may make you sick and tired reading about its problems. (Try Google) It is not simplistic to condemn an unworkable law and an attempt by the administration to force the Church to act against its own teachings. As for charity, I believe Catholic hospitals and healthcare services were helping to poor and forgotten well before the United States government came along.

  31. midwestlady says:

    I’m just glad to see some of the dissent dialed down this year. WE don’t need it.

  32. midwestlady says:

    Correct. It was handled by the bishop as proper. People just have an axe to grind. It’s a bad American habit.

  33. Deacon,
    Why don’t you call the diocese of Worcester and see what the chancery has to say? You sound very certain that it is “apparent” beliefs at play. Where do you get that certainty? Are you perhaps assuming the bishop must be at fault?

  34. No.

  35. midwestlady says:

    Yes, the Church will be fine. This is no big deal.

  36. midwestlady says:

    turning the bold off.

  37. midwestlady says:

    LOL. It’s stuck.


  38. And I expect them to continue that help without any government funds, but with self-funding by Catholics in the pew. That would be the only way it is true charity.

  39. Also, Deacon, there was Mrs. Kennedy’s role as co-chairperson for “Catholics for Obama-Biden” in 2008. The most pro-abortion candidate ever to run, who had voted for a measure in Illinois to deny palliative care to babies who survived abortion. Or her article in the Washington Post, instructing the Church on the rules that in her view should govern who should receive the Eucharist:

  40. I don’t know enough about Mrs Kennedy’s public views, but the responses from those supporting her are troubling. The following quote from Steve Krueger, chair of the Catholic Democrats speaks volumes: “Increasingly, we see more and more bishops playing the role of enforcers of the faith rather than shepherds of souls, because they squandered the trust that they once had and the authority that came with it.” Whoa Steve! Really! With a comment like this, perhaps Bishop McManus was correct in his judgment to disinvite.

  41. Mark Greta says:

    Patrick, everyone wants to have solutions to problems. Most do not want to see America turn into a socialist state giving up all our freedom in return including our religious liberty or to have a government without any limits or controls as was clearly seen in the questions from the Supreme Court.

    The problems with taking 3 people examples as justification is that if everyone did what you want, there would be nothing that was not supposed to be under control of the federal government. Seems like there is a place to go to have what you want; Cuba. And how about all those out of work or underemployed because Obamacare caused such a massive disruption in the private sector. Big government creates problems and the answer of those who love big government is always more big government.

  42. Mark Greta says:

    Henry, keep banging that drum. While I would have preferred a complete ban on the murder of embryo’s for research, Bush is far better on this issue than Obama.

  43. And then, Deacon Greg, There is the fact that the divorced Victoria Reggie married the divorced Ted Kennedy in a civil ceremony. As a former journalist, I would hope that you’d do more research before talking about “apparent” beliefs as the cause of this mess. Mrs. Kennedy’s past track record is easy to find and to match against the desired profile of a speaker at a Catholic institution.

  44. Henry Karlson says:


    Bush is the first to open it up to federal funding! Sorry, that has a great deal of moral importance (and shows his lack of it).

  45. Several have mentioned the ecclesial status of Ted and Victoria Kennedy’s marriage. I believe there was an annulment and convalidation, for what that’s worth, and whether or not it’s anybody’s business. I don’t know anything about her other than that she is a private citizen who has never held public office. Seems a bit harsh to punish a widow for the sins of her dead husband. This kind of infighting among Christians gives the media such a lovely field day for Holy Week.

  46. I find it interesting – everyone knows there status of her soul and her relationship with the church and these are the same people who claim to follow Christ. Judge not lest you be judged. If the bishop did not meet with her, but the way then he does not know the status of her soul. And if the “disinvite” was the result of the pressure of a conservative contributor, then the cafeteria is open and for sale.

  47. Do you indeed know what she has done – perhaps she has been involved with working with unwed mothers, perhaps working with the poor, you know those we have solidarity with. I have no idea that she was invited because she was married to T. Kennedy and neither do you . Your statement borders on spreading false witness, no actually unless you know if for sure it is spreading false witness. Well done!

  48. ron chandonia says:

    Mrs. Kennedy’s umbrage at the bishop’s unwillingness to consult her pastor and/or meet personally with her to discuss her faith really misses the point behind his withdrawing her invitation to be the commencement speaker. She was not invited to speak because she is (or is not) in a state of grace. She was invited as a public speaker to address issues of public policy. Her op-ed in the Washington Post, which Chris linked above, clearly indicates her dissent from the teaching of the Church on a major issue of public policy, as codified in section 2273 of the Catechism:

    When the state does not place its power at the service of the rights of each citizen, and in particular of the more vulnerable, the very foundations of a state based on law are undermined. . . . As a consequence of the respect and protection which must be ensured for the unborn child from the moment of conception, the law must provide appropriate penal sanctions for every deliberate violation of the child’s rights.

    As a public spokesman for the so-called pro-choice position, Mrs. Kennedy has no business speaking authoritatively on a Catholic campus. The college was wrong to invite her. The bishop was right.

  49. lethargic says:

    If you call yourself Catholic, then BE Catholic. Don’t give awards or invites to pro-abortionists or those those who support them. Don’t smack-talk your bishop’s hard decisions. You think he doesn’t understand the effect this will have in the collection plate; he knows; he chose to stand for life and other Church teachings. He is BEing Catholic. Good on him. As for her, if she has had a change of heart regarding her support of pro-abortionists, she needs to be just as public about that as she was the other. We can operate only by external evidence; only God knows what’s in a person’s heart.

  50. deacon john m. bresnahan says:

    The Democrats weren’t dumb in starting early-on what clearly could be very popular programs. But once freedom has been stolen and handed over to government bureaucrats–rarely is it re-gained. That is why the Dems were so determined to get their 2,700 page bill shoved through as is by using so many parliamentary dirty tricks.
    The bill–now law– is a big, sick joke.Even Nancy Pelosi bragged about the fact there are all sorts of stuff stuck out of siight in it and the only way to find out what’s in it was to pass it. And some of the Supreme Court Justices were incredulous at the size of the law claiming there was no way to rationally examine such a mountain of paper.
    BUT that monster bill could have been chopped up into separate pieces with the popular and genuinely needed parts debated and passed. However, that wouldn’t get the garbage and sewerwater the Dems wanted in it passed.
    In otherwords, Patrick, you (and your brother and others) were coldbloodedly and calculatedly exploited and manipulated so they could get you to be willing to socialize our whole medical system and put every single one of us , in one way or another, under the thumb of an all-powerful government system.

  51. deacon john m. bresnahan says:

    Victoria Kennedy is a public person with a public reputation who by her public actions has promoted abortion. In cases like this that is what counts–not what she might say in a private meeting. The college president must surely have known this. And that alone should disqualify her from speaking at a Catholic educational institution’s commencement. After all, whenever someone speaks at such times they are usually fawned over and given awards and honorary degrees–it is not just the speech that’s problematic. If
    there is anyone who should be blamed for the imbroglio it is the college president.

  52. Fran, If you’re not defending her, why lead off the comments with Our Lord’s prayer from the Cross? “Forgive them Father…” Really? And then the bit about “Hosanna people.” The Catholic Church is not the Church of Nice. It is much deeper, much stronger, much sterner and much more Truthful than that. People get heated when the Faith is dumbed down, watered down, and put into a blender until it’s pablum. Let’s have a real discussion about why the bishop acted as he did, based on facts, not perceived attitudes or assumptions.

  53. I really like the way that I have behaved on this thread and I apologize. I am saddened by the sound of conversations, but I certainly do not have to add to dragging them down.

  54. Deacon Greg Kandra says:

    If the college or the bishop has specific problems with Kennedy’s life or political beliefs, they should say so, and be clear. This may be a teachable moment.

    As for her marriage: it’s unclear whether an annulment was ever attained so that a sacramental marriage could take place after the civil one.

    At any rate, her husband is now dead. It’s entirely possible that Kennedy has been able to avail herself of the sacrament of reconciliation and is, in fact, in a state of grace.

    For all I know, she’s a better Catholic than I am.

  55. pagansister says:

    Sorry George, but I’m not impressed with your little statements above. Senator Ted Kennedy is dead—his widow isn’t. The fact that she was invited to begin with means the college obviously wanted their graduation class to hear what she had to say—unfortunately they caved to the bishop—

  56. Good for the bishop. The hierarchy has clearly turned a corner after the HHS mandate. No more honoring Catholics who blatantly dissent from Church teaching, especially abortion. Her own ex-husband used to be against abortion until Roe v. Wade came down.

  57. pagansister says:

    Well said, Melody.

  58. It’s not about her being in a state of grace. It is about the positions she has espoused and the public actions she has taken. And, I repeat, that you didn’t perform “due diligence” before you made a rash judgment about the bishop. (As for annulments, there would have to be two. I never heard of Ted being granted an annulment in his marriage to Joan Kennedy, and that should have been national news.)

  59. I want to see pre-existing conditions eliminated because it is a form of discrimination. I would like to see options for the uninsured to pick up some kind of affordable health care through the government.

    But let me ask this question: Why can we not have those things without forcing people to do things that violate their conscience, and religious liberty, such as the HHS mandate has done?

    Your president chose to make a ~2700 page bill that stuff all kinds of powers in there.

    What you are going to see next is companies all across the nation jettisoning their health care plans because it is cheaper to pay the $2000 fine than to keep the majority of people in their current plans.

    We need health care reforms, not socialized medicine that reduces everything to the lowest common denominator.

  60. deacon john m. bresnahan says:

    Funny how Kennedy could turn in favor of abortion and has never been called a “flip-flopper” in the liberal mass media. But Gov. Romney goes in the other direction and gradually becomes stronger and stronger against abortion and he is the treated as the lone “flip-flopper.” Is there some iron clad law that says politicians can’t become pro-life?? But the Lord Kennedy can do as he pleases in any direction and He never earns the title “flip-flopper” from the media. In fact politicians like Kennedy, Clinton, and Jackson abandon their original pro-life stands to get ahead in the national politital Dem Party and all that is said is that they have allegedly “matured,” “grown,” or “become wiser” and granted a halo. Talk about a double standard (or is it just plain old-fashioned media hypocrisy).

  61. Here’s a quote from a 2004 article Mrs. Kennedy wrote for the Washington Post:

    “Pro-choice politicians — or pro-choice citizens, for that matter — do not support legislation to require or even encourage women to have abortions; they simply refuse to make abortion a crime punishable under non-church law. The pro-choice position recognizes that the United States is a diverse, pluralistic society where a woman has the constitutional right to make a decision based upon her own conscience, religious beliefs and medical needs.”

    And another from the same article:

    “As affirmed in “Dignitatis Humanae,” the landmark Vatican II document on freedom of conscience, “the Christian faithful, in common with the rest of men, have the civil right of freedom from interference in leading their lives according to their conscience. A harmony exists therefore between the freedom of the Church and that religious freedom which must be recognized as the right of all men and all communities and must be sanctioned by constitutional law.”

    Accessed at:

  62. That is a convincing argument! Thank you Deacon.

  63. midwestlady says:


  64. midwestlady says:

    Don’t hold your breath, Patrick.

  65. midwestlady says:

    Burying only dead people is discrimination too.

  66. midwestlady says:

    Perhaps I’m Mother Teresa come back from the dead too. Give it up, Andy.

  67. LoneThinker says:

    The most difficult aspect of these discussions is that they are carried on in the public arena where facts are not always known, or taken into account by all sides. In the case of a political party, or a prominent name like Kennedy, there is so much hateful partisanship. Someone used the image once of having a family row with open windows and everyone listening and not getting both sides!

  68. I’ve stayed out of this one for I know few facts about her past, but Melody’s line about annulment and convalidation a la, “whether or not it’s anybody’s business.” is wrong. Marriage is a PUBLIC act, if they were married in the Church, the Church should say so. I said this long ago:

  69. Bill McGeveran says:

    The college decided to invite her. Then disinvited her under raw pressure from the bishop, who also did not have the guts to meet with her. I do not think inviting or honoring her would have sent any message endorsing “pro-choice” positions on abortion, or the Obama healthcare bill. But the bishop’s action does send a message. And not one that really serves anybody or any cause.

  70. Mike Andrews says:

    Lay the blame at the feet of the college that invited Mrs. Kennedy. Had the college been thinking with the Church, it would never have invited her to speak. It was only prestige that the college was seeking by having Mrs. Kennedy speak, and look what havoc it has wreaked. The college’s actions were quite unfair to both the bishop and the woman.

  71. Cue the lamentations of Democrats who attack their own Bishop.

    Kennedy > Bishop is scheme of things apparently.

    Steve Krueger, chairman of the Catholic Democrats, said, “Increasingly, we see more and more bishops playing the role of enforcers of the faith rather than shepherds of souls, because they squandered the trust that they once had and the authority that came with it.

  72. Agreed. If they had their marriage convalidated they should have said so to prevent the speculation that arose around the situation. Seems to me if she loved the Church and her faith so dearly she would have waited to marry Ted until after the annulment had been granted in the first place.

  73. Absolutely. They should not have invited her in the first place. As for the Bishop “not having the guts” to meet with her, why should he? All you have to do is google her to find out her positions on things.

  74. I am truly sorry that the issue of the blood of millions of dead babies does not cause any emotion in you. Really, I am truly sorry.

  75. The president chose this model because the Republican party insists health care remain private. If it remains private, the insurance companies must make a profit. It the insurance companies are to make a profit, healthy people have to buy health insurance. It’s pretty basic.

  76. jem, replace “abortion” with “slavery” and you’ll see why she wasn’t invited.

  77. Justice Scalia speaks at Catholic universities with no objections by Bishops even though he wrote in an opinion that the Constitution does not prohibit the execution of a defendant who is actually innocent. Thank God his was a dissenting opinion. However he has the ability to actually influence law and policy yet he is welcomed at Catholic institutions. In the Gospels Jesus always calls out hypocrites.

  78. Bill McGeveran says:

    Re saying he could have googled her opinion—I assume by referring to “overtures” above, she means she requested the meeting. So why should he refuse?

  79. Barbara,

    The big difference is that those people facing the death penalty actually get their day in court before a jury of their peers.

    Whereas, Sen. Kennedy and his wife never offered the same benefit to millions of children aborted without a thought.

    Where is the respect for those children’s Constitutional rights? What do think Jesus thinks about people who kill children wantonly and about those who vocally support it?

    Surely it not just and they will be judged one day for their actions.

  80. Barbara:

    It seems to me that, perhaps, you don’t understand what appellate or supreme court justices do. Justice Scalia wrote a legal opinion about what he thinks the Constitution actually says and means. Not about his own personal feelings or beliefs about the issue. The Constitution may or may not prohibit the execution of someone who is innocent – that is the issue under debate. But to hold that the Constitution does not prohibit it is to render a judgment about what the Constitution says, not about its ultimate rightness or wrongness. In other words, it is a capital error to infer from Justice Scalia’s opinion that he thinks that executing innocent people is hunky-dory. I’m sure, if you asked him, that he would tell you that, of course, executing the innocent would be wrong. So Scalia’s ruling in that (or a myriad of other cases) does not present a problem in the way that Mrs. Kennedy’s public advocacy of policies diametrically opposed to Church teaching does. There is nothing hypocritical going on here.

  81. Henry Karlson says:


    What you should really point out is how Scalia has told Catholics that if they follow their faith and do not believe in the death penalty they should not be judges, and he has worked hard in removing religious liberty in the US. Those two right there should be enough for a scandal.

  82. Respectfully I do understand what a judge does and they do have enormous power in interpreting and even creating law and policy. How a Catholic judge could support this interpretation of the Constitution is beyond me. However you make the same argument in support of Scalia that Catholic democrats make regarding abortion yet that argument is always rejected. Scalia has more power to influence law and policy than Mrs Kennedy yet you support her exclusion from a Catholic campus and not Scalia’s. I will say this as respectfully as I can but your position is inconsistent and well, hypocritical.

  83. No, Scalia’s opinion referenced a situation where a defendant could produce evidence to establish he was actually innocent notwithstanding the guilty verdict. According to Scalia the Constitution does not prohibit executing an innocent person known to the government to be innocent. He supports the legality of such an execution and presumably can sleep at night and is welcomed and honored at Catholic institutions.

  84. Barbara, his job is not to interpret the Constitution as a Catholic; that truly would be imposing his religion on others, it would be a betrayal of his oath, and would also just be lousy jurisprudence. Scalia does not oppose Roe v. Wade because his is Roman Catholic; he opposes it because there is no right to abortion in the Constitution.

  85. Roe v. Wade is based on an implied right of privacy in the Constitution. I think Scalia believes there is no such implied right in the Constitution so it is a matter for the States to determine.

  86. Why should he waste her time and his? You think she was going to change her position on things because he sat and chatted with her? Please.

  87. pagansister says:

    George, pro-choice is not pro abortion and Mrs. Kennedy personally has nothing to do with the fact that any woman would legally terminate a pregnancy. Emotion? You have no knowledge about my emotions one way or another on this matter. However I wish no woman would choose to terminate and would seek alternatives. But for some there is in their mind no acceptable ones. If they had to go and seek an illegal termination, then that “blood” should cause an emotional response. Have a nice day.

  88. He didn’t say he was for it, he just said the Constitution doesn’t prevent it. That’s quite a difference. However, I must admire your attempt to deflect scrutiny from the topic to another area and another (nominally conservative) person. I don’t think your analogy is valid.

  89. pagansister says:

    The folks who who wish to delve into whether they were properly married is a moot point—Ted Kennedy is dead. And just why should they announce to the world their marital status anyhow? Rightly or wrongly, the Kennedy’s had most of their lives spread out for praise or disapproval.

  90. pagansister, you never let your lack of understanding of issues get in the way of posting your opinions about them.

  91. People talking is a waste of time?

  92. pagansister says:

    George, Meant to say if they had to go and seek an illegal termination and died because of the illegal procedure being done by a quack, then that “blood” should cause an emotional response. And again, have a nice day.

  93. You think he has nothing better to do?

  94. The death penalty and abortion are hardly comparable. One is never allowed. Also how many executions have there been since 1973 compared to the number of abortions?

  95. Ed, that post made my day.

  96. Henry Karlson says:

    You still do not get it– he has told Catholics not to be judges for following the pro-life teachings of the Church. He has also supported the elimination of religious liberty. This means he is teaching disobedience and the secular state above the Church. Why is it he is approved?

  97. Sorry, Barbara, but I don’t see how Scalia’s position on whether or not the Constitution precludes the execution of an innocent person is in any way similar to Mrs. Kennedy’s advocacy for so-called abortion rights. Mrs. Kennedy says and has publicly advocated that for women to have the unfettered ability to have an abortion for any reason is a Good Thing that the government should uphold and extend. Justice Scalia has not done anything like that. If Justice Scalia had advocated that, not only does the Constitution not prevent the execution of the innocent, but that execution of the innocent would be a Good Thing, that the government ought to uphold and extend, you would then have a point. But Scalia has not done anything like that

    My suspicion that you don’t, in fact, understand what an appellate or supreme court justice does is only furthered by a couple of subsequent remarks you made. You wrote that Justice Scalia “supports the legality of such an execution”. That is not his position. He does not “support the legality” of such an execution, he merely contends that the Constitution does not prevent it. He is pointing out something he believes to be lacking in the Constitution. As a strict constructionist, he does not believe it is his job as a justice to step in and remedy the Constitution’s faults by reading into it things that are not there. He believes that correcting it’s faults is a job for legislatures. By stating that Scalia “supports the legality of such an execution”, you not only misread him, but you calumniate him.

    Your statement “How a Catholic judge could support this interpretation of the Constitution… is beyond me”, is also problematic. It is not Justice Scalia’s job to read Catholic teaching into the Constitution. It is job to read and interpret it based on what it says and what one can reasonably know about the Framers’ intent. We have seen justices read extra-Constitutional ideas into it in instances such as Dred Scott, Griswold, and Roe v. Wade. We really don’t need any more of that, whether from a Catholic or anyone else.

    As for me being inconsistent and hypocritical, well, I have been called worse. But it seems to me that your use of those terms might rest as well on a footing equally as faulty as your understanding of Justice Scalia’s and Mrs. Kennedy’s conduct.

  98. Ed Peters:
    There is no reply button for me to respond to your comment, so I will repeat it here:
    “pagansister, you never let your lack of understanding of issues get in the way of posting your opinions about them.”

    That’s quite a departure from your normal informative comments.
    Why? What do you hope to accomplish?

    In addition, comments like that don’t make MY day.

  99. Henry, you really should stick to your areas of expertise whatever they are, you are in way over your head in here.

  100. Kevin, of course no sensible person believes Justice Scalia (or any other justice or judge) should interpret the Constitution based on his Catholicism. But we’re talking about a judge issuing an opinion in which he claims that the execution of a demonstrably innocent person is not a violation of due process. And in response to that opinion, we find folks on the right eager to remind us that Scalia must put his Catholicism–and basic morality and common sense–aside because he is a strict constructivist: someone who only goes by the literal wording in the Constitution–except, of course, when the judicial activists of a conservative stripe wish to stop the vote counting and select a president for the nation, which is what the strict constructivist Scalia helped to do in December 2000.

    Please do not use the “he can’t act on his Catholicism in public office” argument to excuse Scalia’s reprehensible legal logic (illogic) in the Atkins v. Virginia case–or the amorality he demonstrated in the opinion to which he signed his name. Ted Kennedy did not get a pass when it came to the “personally opposed but…” line, and when it comes to your favorite(?) Catholic justice getting a pass, neither the moral argument or legal argument is there to support you. The execution of an innocent person is in itself a violation of due process–and an insult to the basic morality that is at the heart of any civilized republic. Give up the excuse-making for Justice Scalia. Pray for him instead. Having the execution (or even the potential execution) of an innocent man on your conscience is not a good burden for any man or woman to bear.

  101. Father, I hope you will someday find it in yourself to reject the culture of death entirely — including the state stopping a beating heartbeat in the name of all its residents and taxpayers. Justice Scalia wrote an opinion which would have (had he been in the majority) allowed the state to execute an innocent man. That inclination is certainly part of the culture of death. Scalia’s mind is evidently so rigid, and his reasoning so tortured, that he champions the state’s supposed “right” to kill a person who is innocent. I’m sorry to see a priest defending that reasoning, that idolatry of the strict constructivist mindset at the cost of justice and the loss of a human life.

  102. deacon john m. bresnahan says:

    On the capital punishment issue (mentioned by a few here)–which is in the realm of prudential decisions societies can make. Here in Ma. the liberal politicians that control this state make this one of the most anti-capital punishment states in the union. They count on the national liberal media covering up their hypocrisy and fraud on the issue.
    You see, the promise is always made that murderers will get life without parole. But anti-capital punishment activists and their political
    allies lie, deceive, fabricate, etc. on the “life” issue. For almost never does “life” mean “life” in most anti-capital punishment states.
    Here in Ma. 3 murderers in jail for “life” were paroled a short while back (I wonder how the victim’s families feel). While out on parole–they broke parole and were sent back to prison. Now this past week the 3 were paroled AGAIN.
    Where is justice in all this farce??? Why do we rarely hear of the abuse of the life sentence–usually by the same pols against capital punishment???They lie about the actuality of a life sentence to get people to think it is a genuine alternative to capital punishment. And, unfortunately, many people of good will concerned about crime in our nation fall for the lie and falsely believe that “life” means “life.” Instead, a “life” sentence too frequently means a murderer will be stalking the streets again.

  103. Not to mention, Father, that even a strict constructionist is forced to wrangle with the prohibition on “cruel and unusual” punishments clause in the Eighth Amendment. Or would you argue that the state killing an innocent person is neither “cruel” nor “unusual”? Justice Scalia’s inclination to set aside that clause and vote for death (which is essentially what he did) would suggest that he stubbornly clings to a love of the death penalty, despite an Eighth Amendment out for any justice (strict constructionist or not) who wants to prevent the execution of the innocent.

    Sad situation, morally, for Scalia; even worse situation, however, for our nation. Evidently, though, Justice Scalia is still eligible to receive communion, and we do not hear of bishops calling for him to be disrespected at or uninvited from Catholic events. Funny thing, that inconsistency in how Catholics of various political persuasions are regarded by some bishops.

  104. Deacon Greg Kandra says:

    You’re right, RomCath.

    Instructing the faithful is a waste of time. Correcting error is a waste of time. Enlightening the ignorant is a waste of time. Ministering to those in sin is a waste of time. Clarifying church teaching is a waste of time. Listening to the faithful and hearing their concerns is a waste of time. Admonishing those at fault is a waste of time. Helping to guide people back to faithfully following Church teaching is a waste of time.

    You’re right. Bishops have better things to do.

    Dcn. G.

  105. Barbara P says:

    Well said Steven.
    Someday Scalia’s legal opinion may be cited and relied upon in a judge’s decision that allows the government to murder an innocent person. The opinion of a Supreme Court Justice set forth a decision of the Court, even in a dissenting opinion, goes beyond advocacy. They form the basis of our constitutional jurisprudence.

  106. This is kind of off the original subject, but it has entered the thread. I am glad to be from a state that has not executed anyone for well over a hundred years. Perhaps there are problems, as mentioned above, but I am not aware of any.

  107. Barbara P says:

    Like Catholic politicians who say they are personally opposed to abortion?

  108. pagansister says:

    What lack of understanding of issues would that be, Ed Peters? It is pretty straight forward—Mrs. Kennedy was un-invited because the bishop of Worcestor disapproved. One man who apparently has a lot of pull.

  109. pagansister says:

    LoneThinker & BillMcG: Agree with your comments. Well said.

  110. I said nothing unkind or inaccurate.

  111. naturgesetz says:

    Henry, I’ve called you on this before. Your half-truth on what Bush did is sufficiently misleading for any fair-minded person to conclude that you are a thoroughly dishonest man.

  112. naturgesetz says:

    But it was altogether too cryptic, and your failure to respond to pagansister’s request for an explanation is really disappointing.

  113. naturgesetz says:

    Back to the original topic — I think if a Bishop is going to require a college to disinvite a speaker, he owes it to all concerned to state publicly his reasons for this very public act which is clearly damaging to the person’s reputation.

  114. Deacon Kendra:
    How about this? Bishop McManus agrees to meet with Mrs. Kennedy. Her aide leaks the time and place. The media turns up. An upset Mrs. Kennedy emerges and gives a short statement in which she uses the word “me” 162 times in approximately three sentences. The bishop, who has spoken to her about the moral issues raised by her public actions, cannot respond because some of the topics they discussed touched on personal matters. Yeah, this is a total win for the church.

  115. I always find posters who persistently turn things personal and insinuate others are being “mean” if they don’t immediately retract anything they feel is “mean” to be manipulative. They attempt to steer the conversation through guilt. Ed Peters said pagansister’s comments were often fact-free. So they are

  116. The bishop has issued a statement through his spokesperson. Assuming things about his intentions is rash judgement. And you are doing damage to the bishop’s own good name by not “doing your homework” and attending to the facts of the case, naturgestz.

  117. Oooops.
    Pardon my misspelling of your name, Deacon. Not enough coffee this morning.

  118. Deacon Greg Kandra says:

    Or, how about this? Bishop McManus agrees to meet with Mrs. Kennedy. Her aide leaks the time and place. The media turns up. Meanwhile, behind closed doors, Bishop McManus and Mrs. Kennedy have a frank and honest exchange of ideas. He talks; she listens. She talks; he listens. He makes clear why he had to make this decision, and why her public pronouncements are at odds with church teaching, and how this has put the college in a difficult and painful position. He expresses sympathy for the embarassment this has caused her, and the college, but says that unfortunately this is the way things have to be. She disagrees, but understands. She expresses her love for the church. He prays that she will reconsider her positions, and makes himself available to answer any questions or offer any spiritual guidance. He expresses appreciation for the great work she has done on behalf of children, and respect for the charities she has created which have sought to stop gun violence. He acknowledges the importance of the Kennedys to American political life, and expresses gratitude for all the good they have achieved, and the contributions they have made, as well as disappointment over other positions that have gone against the teaching of the church. They conclude with a prayer and he offers his blessing. They craft a joint statement of mutual respect, explaining what has transpired but acknowledging that for the good of the school and the welfare of the faithful, it would be best if she not speak. They each decline to talk with the media and agree this is the only statement they will make. They consider this a private matter and, for the time being, closed.

    Yes, this is a total win for the church–for episcopal leadership, for pastoral sensitivity, and for providing a teaching moment to the people. It reinforces the beautiful idea that the Church is a loving mother who cares for her children, and that it can listen to them and counsel them and, while disagreeing with their choices, still love them while praying for their conversion.

    Dcn. G.

  119. Would you like to bet on that being the case? How have other cases gone with other “Catholic” political figures? Patrick Kennedy was advised not to receive Communion in RI by his bishop. Nancy Pelosi was supposed to have had a meeting with her bishop. The head of HHS (Sibelius?) is not to approach for communion. Then there is NY’s governor who took his mistress to Mass. What’s the track record with Catholic Democrats listening to their bishops with respect and gratitude, Deacon? Don’t you remember Ted Kennedy’s funeral, and the liberties the family took once they were in front of the cameras, in terms of their prayer petitions and remarks? I have trouble believing you’ve spent your life working as a journalist when you make statements such as these. The likely outcome is for the church to be snookered (see Dolan’s remarks about his meeting with Mrs. Kennedy’s friend, Obama).

  120. Of course, Bishop McManus has already referred to the Bishops’ conference statement by way of his spokesman. It’s not like he hasn’t explained. And if Mrs. Kennedy wanted to talk to him, she might have called him herself instead of putting out a self-pitying statement in the press. If she wanted private, she might have gotten private. But, as someone else commented, she made it all about her.

  121. As President Reagan would have said, “There you go again.”

  122. Deacon Steve says:

    Telling someone who is pro-life and against the death penalty to not be a judge is a problem how? They would be required to uphold a law which they do not agree with. To be a judge you have to uphold the law, you don’t get to selectively decide which laws you uphold. A judge has to be neutral and apply the law. If as a judge you could not impose the death penalty then you should not be a judge. I am not supporting the death penalty, but I don’t understand why you think he was wrong for telling someone to not be a judge if they cannot uphold the law.

  123. deacon john m. bresnahan says:

    Will–an average of 8-10 prison guards murdered a year–usually by “lifers”—That’s a problem that shouldn’t make you glad.
    States that promise murderers will get life as a substitute for capital punishment–then install a parole revolving door— That’s a problem that shouldn’t make you glad (see my previous comment evidence).
    And now that you have some problem facts to ponder you can no longer say you are unaware of any deadly problems with using life in prison as a substitute for capital punishment .How bad is your state in these departments I do not know. You might find it interesting to try to find out how many lifers get paroled in your state and how many guards have gotten killed.
    It is usually hard to find these statistics because people and the media who are anti-capital punishment frequently keep these stats well tucked away as further innocent victims die.

  124. breathnach says:

    Ms. Vicki wails when not provided a Church platform from which to decconstruct Catholic teachings. Meanwhile she seeks to deny 1st Amendment / consciencence rights to Catholics by supporting the HHS Mandate. An unbridled hypocrite.

    Congrats Bishop McManus for affirming that Catholic honors are dispensed for faithful Catholic witness,not demanded to affirm the world’s culture of death consensus.

  125. Mark Greta says:

    patrick, the Catholic Church Pope and Magesterium decide the variour importance of Her teaching and they label some things we have to believe as not negotiable. You might not like what they list in this catagory, but only they have infallible protection when they do teach in this way.

    The civil society also has felony/misdemeanor distinctions and we are bound to respect those laws. You seem to be unable to grasp the distinctions. The other point is that you seem to think that there is only one solution to poverty, immigration, or any other societal need and that is the one sold by the Democratic Party. Most sane unbiased people that look at Democratic solutions over the last 60 years basedon on big government high tax solutions to everything along with their obvious failure to help the situations they were designed to supposedly help clearly see a need for something very different. Republicans have offered many such programs, but big government establishment in both parties like the status quo. This is especially true in the Democratic Party where it dominates and in the minority in the old line established RINO section of the republican party. Time for a real change. The era of big government is over and the sooner more people in both parties join this change, the sooner America can be healed.

  126. Mark Greta says:

    Because someone did not accept or follow Catholic teaching and those who respect Catholic teaching with the proper authority upon finding out about this grave error said no. Simple.

  127. Mark Greta says:

    The bishop was not afraid as some have come to expect, but acted with courage. What is it about those in Catholic institutions that do not get the fact that the USCCB has said no to those who support grave evil being brought onto Catholic grounds who are aginst our teaching. Kind of like inviting Cardinal Dolan to address meeting of the abortion mills to present the Sanger award to the most prolific serial killer.

  128. Mark Greta says:

    Obama is the most pro abortion president in our history. Name another which has been tagged PARTNER by the abortion mills own website ever?

    She was supporting his becoming president and should have been well aware of his abortion positions. Since we know there can be no proportionate reason that anyone has been able to list that comes close to 54 million dead children, we know that those who support this evil, especially in such a high profile position, should not be speaking at anything with a Catholic name attached. Is that not correct according to the USCCB letter not to invite to speak or honor anyone who holds those views?

  129. Mark Greta says:

    Pro choice is pro abortion. What is the choice being made? To kill a baby or to allow it to live. Weasel words are often used to try to avoid whatever sin we are wanting to make normal or less evil.

    Abortion mills have murdered 54 million babies. Nine times more murders than the number of Jews killed in the death camps. If we vote for life and elect those who will make laws to end this holocaust and to put judges in place who do not invent laws out of thin air finding privacy where it was not written as a right, those death camps will be shut down in a very short time frame. That is the choice. To vote to end the death camp holocaust or to allow them to continue to kill at 4,000 murdered babies a day and untold tragedy to millions of women every year they will carry to their grave and beyond. Does the Catholic Church excommunicate a woman who choses abortion? Last time I looked the answer was yes.

    It would be strange to then turn around and honor those who work to keep the abortion mills killing spree going. And the Bishop does not have to call the parish priest on any matter that is so clear. The real issue is why the inviting party ignored the USCCB letter and put the Church in this position. I can imagine if they brought in a KKK leader to give a speech and honors or another who favors this grave evil at detailed by the Pope and Magesterium.

  130. Mark Greta says:

    Barbara P. How many people did your distorted view of the Scalia decision kill?

    as co-chair of Catholics for Obama, this woman supported a president who supported the murder of infants who managed to escape the first murder attempt. She supports a person listed by the abortion mill own website as their PARTNER in the White House. You know, those abortion mills that slaughter 4,000 infants a day. If you had Scalia and this position up against Obama, you would be able to support Scalia based on the fact that there is a clear proportionate reason in a theory about life versus the ongoing slaughter of 4,000 babies a day. Your position shows that you cannot seem to manage to look at issues and compare then in a proportionate way. The fact that she used the “Catholic” name to support grave evil is also a reason to not allow this woman to speak at a Catholic organization.

  131. Mark Greta says:

    Barbara, there is a difference between what is actually written and what someone pulls out of thin air and classifies as “implied”. Scalia and many Americans including Supreme Court Justices for about 150 years that the job of the Supreme Court is to read the constitution and use it and the written word alone as that which legislation should be judged to be within the law or not. If we do not agree with the written text, and want abortion to become a right, there is the method given to amend the constitution. Women used that method to win the right to vote. The Supreme Court, when the women tried to use the same logic as the Roe court, was told it did not apply to this issue, that the 14th amendment was to give rights being denied to freed black slaves. The amendment would never have passed with how it has been abused by the liberal courts out of context and intent. Why did the women have to go the amendment process and not those wanting to slaughter innocent babies?

  132. Mark Greta says:

    Once again, to outlaw the death penalty, the rigth route is to amend the Constitution. It is the single best framework every created in that it had the wisdom to know that religious freedom was essential to change the hearts and souls of the populace to correct grave evil over time. It has the amendment process to allow those changes when they become accepted by the majority to become an integral part of our core constitutonal rights. That is why having a wall around government to protect religious beliefs from government was so important. That is why preventing the government from establishing a single religious denomination was so important and why the government establishing a godless secular state has created such grave evil. It came about because of a lie, the common traffic of the prince of lies since the fall of the angels to hell. I would like to have a thousand Scalia’s because from it we would have the constitution kept pure from distortion and grave error that robs us of our freedom.

    Steven your rant about the culture of death if laughable and of course joined by others who support the party of death with 4,000 babies a day being murdered. Please do not try to lecture others on the culture of death from support of these death camps.

  133. Mark Greta says:

    Henry, show me where it says ending the death penalty in all cases is forbidden by the teaching of the Catholic Church as non negoatiable and therefore must be accepted and believed by all Catholics. I am well aware of Pope JPII position, but he went out of his way to make sure this was not seen as more than his view and certainly not from the Chair of Peter. If I am wrong on this, like to see it. However, it has always been solid teaching of the Catholic Church on abortion being grave evil as is homosexual acts which prohibit any form of homosexual marriage now and forever. Those are not negotiable. A person who pulls the switch working in a prison on a prisoner is not excommunicated while one killing a baby in an abortion is excommunicated.

    What you are saying is not Catholic teaching. I am not for the death penalty, but want to make sure those convicted are never allowed to be of any danger to any guard or other prisoner ever again. Pope John Paul II gave this as a qualification and with the ACLU and liberal judges, this cannot be guaranted in America. Talk to guards who have to work with prisoners with zero hope of every getting out of prison and who are kept isolated to protect other prisoners. They are very dangerous. Also, many argue it is more cruel and inhumane to keep someone alive for the rest of their lives in a cage far worse than legal injection. That is why it is not a non negotiable teacing from the Chair of Peter we have to obey.

    I realize that this teaching gets in the way of having an excuse to support the holocaust of 54 million babies and still support the party of death, but that is why there is a demand to have some kind of proportionate reason like the other party is hitler and will set up death camps that will kill twice as many. Not some lame excuse about 5 or 10 people where the church allows open discussion and belief.

  134. Mark Greta says:

    Barbara, you have nailed it for those fools who say they are personally opposed. Many germans would have said they were personally opposed while cheering for Hitler who they knew hated jews and did great evil in open site. Some day those who kept the evil death party alive and well will have to answer to a higher authority and it will be interesting to see how they explain how they could be a democrat and a Catholic or even a person with core values that 54 million babies finally won over to say no more.

  135. pagansister says:

    Mark Greta: If the college had a problem with Mrs. Kennedy to begin with they wouldn’t have invited her—so they obviously had no problem. Too bad the bishop was not polite enough to let things be. She wasn’t going to stand up in front of all those graduates and cause riots or slam the Church or do anything harmful to the minds of the graduates by giving one speech, IMO. Perhaps the bishop might be worried that a question on some subjects might be sparked in the mind of one or two graduates regarding their faith? She was speaking to a graduating class—-and hopefully they have questioned things in their 4 years of higher education. Now if they can just find a job to pay off their loan debts!


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