PAXTON, Mass. (CBS) — A Roman Catholic college in Massachusetts has withdrawn its invitation to have the widow of U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy speak at graduation.

The move came after the Bishop of Worcester expressed concerns about Victoria Kennedy’s views.

Anna Maria College in Paxton had invited Kennedy to speak at the May commencement, but on Friday announced that “concerns were expressed about the college being in conflict with the bishop.”

The college did not cite Bishop Robert McManus’s specific concerns, but released a statement explaining their decision.

“Concerns were expressed about the College being in conflict with the Bishop and hosting an event that could create negative publicity and a difficult situation for both Mrs. Kennedy and AMC, ” the school said in a statement.

Anna Maria College also apologized to Kennedy for the situation, noting they believe she deserves to be recognized for many of her contributions.

“The College also maintains its belief in the appropriateness of recognizing Mrs. Kennedy’s many contributions to the societal issues they both share, especially her work with gun control and the safety of children,” the statement said.

Read: Ana Maria College statement (.pdf)

Kennedy responded by saying she was disheartened by the turn of events.

“I am a lifelong Catholic and my faith is very important to me. I am not a public official. I hold no public office nor am I a candidate for public office,” she said in a statement. “I have not met Bishop McManus nor has he been willing to meet with me to discuss his objections. He has not consulted with my pastor to learn more about me or my faith. 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,” her statement read.

Read: Kennedy’s Statement

Diocese spokesman Ray Delisle says the bishop has followed directions that Catholic institutions should not honor Catholics who take positions contrary to church principles “particularly on the dignity of life from conception and the sanctity of marriage.”

As for a replacement, Delisle says he assumes the school will confer with the bishop about that decision.

“From the bishop’s perspective, this is Anna Maria’s decision in the end,” he said. “Ultimately, it’s their commencement. It was their decision to follow up on the bishop’s concerns.”

Comments (9)
  1. Mason says:

    Jeeze…..I’m at a complete loss as to why the Catholic Church continues its slide into disrepair.

  2. Judy says:

    The Board of AMC should make public what repercussions they would have faced from Bishop McManus, had they decided to stand firm on their principals and belief that Mrs. Kennedy was a good choice for speaker at commencement. What were you threatened with? Make it public, so everyone will know the truth. It is time for lay people to stand up for what is right…That includes to Catholics who are wrong.
    I am Catholic who has a great deal of respect for this faith. But this religion is not without its faults…..much of it is man’s interpretation. No Man or Woman is perfect. it is time for us all to remain steadfast in what we believe is right.

    1. Allan says:

      While I don’t have all the facts, and certainly your points have merit, your final line I think speaks to what the Church is trying to clarify. It is time for the Catholic Church and her affiliate institutions; schools, hospitals, charities to remain steadfast in what they believes is right. While the horse may be out of the barn (ie Ted Kennedy should have been sternly reprimanded by the Church, his widow is non the less only speaking because she is, in fact, his widow). By her own admission, she holds no office and is no public figure, but if she is not pro-life then they should find a speaker who is. what you are witnessing is a sea change within the Church. When the Obama care mandate for birth control became non exempt for religious affiliates, the Church finally realized its very existence is being challenged and marginilized by the federal government.

  3. petem says:

    Wow, Just when I thought the Catholic Church had already shot enough holes the bottom of their own boat…This and a thousand others are reason why except for marriages and funerals they’ll never see my face in a church again. Not only does this negate the purpose of an institution of higher learning (that definition should now be reexamined as far as Anna Maria College is concerned), where the exposure to other points of view and even vastly divergent ideas as supposed to be the POINT! Of course the Catholics and most of the Christian churches seem to think that what their young folks don’t hear won;t hurt the church. Wrong again! As I learned all that I was not exposed to when I was young, I came to the logical conclusion that it’s all a bunch of stories of superstitions and although it makes a bunch of mostly older people FEEL good, it is nevertheless nonsense.
    Strangely though, some the teachings I got from my time in the church have served me well; Do unto others as you would have done to you; be honest; be humble and grateful. These messages though are not only found in the Christian tradition, but they true believers will have you think it…
    If people could just try to do the right thing more often, even when it wasn’t the thing that made them money or was the most expedient or wasn’t the thing they were supposed to do, we might find a lot more happiness…

  4. Paul Gill says:

    The Roman Cathoilc Church is becoming increasingly irrelevant. I hope the people of the dioces of Worcester will withhold their bishop’s fund donations in May.

  5. massman says:

    Just when you think religion can’t become any more out of touch.

  6. Rob Cleary says:

    Which is more phony? This Kennedy or Anna Maria College?

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