What’s a bishop to do…Wink and nod?

Share on facebook
Facebook 0
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn 0
Share on reddit
Reddit 0
Share on delicious
Share on digg
Share on stumbleupon
StumbleUpon 0
Share on whatsapp
Share on email
Share on print

The Worcester Telegram & Gazette has reported that the Bishop of Worcester (MA), Robert J. McManus, has refused to attend this year’s graduation ceremony at Anna Maria College (AMC).


The problem is that AMC—a small Catholic college in Massachusetts—had invited Victoria Reggie Kennedy to be its 2012 commencement speaker.  However, Ms. Kennedy favors legal rights to abortion, gay marriage, and contraception.

In an unusual but not unprecedented move, AMC’s academic administrators responded to Bishop McManus’ refusal by recinding the invitation to Ms. Kennedy, saying that AMC “relies heavily on the good will of its relationship with the bishop and the larger Catholic community” and, given Bishop McManus’ objection to the choice of Mrs. Kennedy as speaker, the event would “create negative publicity and a difficult situation for both Mrs. Kennedy and AMC.”

Ms. Kennedy issued a statement in which she said:

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.

Actually, the opposite may be closer to the truth.  This may be a very good day for the Church.

Why AMC academic administrators thought it appropriate to invite Ms. Kennedy—whose views on those three moral issues are well-known—is troubling, it’s not surprising in light of how pervasive this phenomenon has been and continues to be across U.S. Catholic higher education.  That lapse is always the origin of this type of kerfuffle.

Yet, AMC’s academic administrators complicated matters by also inviting Bishop McManus to preside at the commencement ceremony, who accepted the invitation.  But, when Bishop McManus was informed who the commencement speaker would be, he told AMC academic administrators that he would not preside at the event.

In that Ms. Kennedy’s positions on these three moral issues are well-known, what’s interesting about this story for The Motley Monk is how Ms. Kennedy then turned all of this into a “he didn’t consult with me” story when, in fact, Bishop McManus was simply informing those who invited him that he wouldn’t be coming and why he wouldn’t be coming.  Why should he have consulted her?

Ms. Kennedy’s statement is representative of how prominent Catholics who hold moral positions contrary to Church teaching oftentimes react when Church officials don’t “wink and nod.”  They paint these officials as if they are uncaring, partriarchal potentates, making their deep personal offense into the subject of the story.

What do they expect Church officials to do?  Not to uphold Church teaching?

Yep…that’s exactly what they expect and all too often, academic administrators at Catholic universities and colleges are just as happy when the local bishop declines the invitation to preside.  They’d rather have the “headliner” show up for parade.

But, in this instance, AMC’s academic administrators suddenly found themselves pinched between a rock and a hard place.  Perhaps if AMC had the benefit of a sizeable endowment, maybe its administrators wouldn’t have to give one hoot what the bishop or larger Catholic community thought.



To read the Worcester Telegram & Gazette article, click on the following link:

To read The Motley Monk’s daily blog, click on the following link:

More to explorer

Keeping a Promise

As faithful readers of this blog know, I was a very reluctant, and late, supporter of Donald Trump in 2016.  I grudgingly


  1. “by objecting to my appearance at Anna Maria College, he has made a judgment about my worthiness as a Catholic”

    Does she know what the job of a bishop *is*?

  2. “Yet by objecting to my appearance at Anna Maria College, he has made a judgment about my worthiness as a Catholic.”

    No, Ms. Kennedy, your own words have exposed your “worthiness as a Catholic.” When you profess to believe God is the giver of life and pray for His will to be done on earth in church every Sunday, and contradict what you “profess to believe and pray for” in your actions outside church, who would ever care what you have to say about anything?

  3. “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.”

    Perhaps she should meet with the Holy Spirit and learn about the Faith.

  4. Even while Bishop Mc Manus is calling Victoria Reggie Kennedy on her dissent from Catholic Church doctrine and her disrespect for our Creator, please know that when Ms. Kennedy faces God, Ms. Kennedy will blame Bishop McManus for the evil she practices. Ms. Kennedy’s display of victimhood is inappropriate behavior for an abortion advocate. As a lawyer, Ms. Kennedy must know that bearing false witness is perjury in a court of law.

    As a person and citizen Bishop McManus is free to disengage the devil and his evil. As a Bishop, Bishop McManus is obligated to uphold the truth.

  5. Unless you have more info, I think you are being a bit harsh on AMC. True, inviting Kennedy in the first place was about as bright as a 0 watt light bulb, but at least its disinvite went to the correct party.

  6. c matt: AMC is dependent upon the church to keep its doors open. If this were not true would they be so quick to disinvite the “right” person? And there will be still less money from alumni because the college is steeped in dislogic. Ms. Kennedy is anti-life, anti-family, anti-monogamous marriage, pro-lust, but Ms. Kennedy advocates for children? What, may I ask, could Ms. Kennedy advocate for children?

  7. Mary,
    Few if any Catholic Colleges are dependent financially on the Church. I doubt AMC gets a nickel from its diocese. I’m glad they did the right thing. In similar circumstances, I suspect most have not or would not.

  8. “Why AMC academic administrators thought it appropriate to invite Ms. Kennedy–
    whose views on those three moral issues (abortion, gay ‘marriage’ and contraception)
    are well-known– is troubling, it’s not surprising in light of how pervasive this phen-
    omenon has been and continues to be across US Catholic higher education.”

    If Ms. Kennedy were discovered to be a member of a white supremicist group, or an
    anti-semite, or held some other view that is outside the PC mainstream, her invitation
    would be rescinded without hesitation. The AMC academic administrators would have
    cited that her views were inconsistent with the teachings of the Church, rendering
    her ineligible for the honor. There would have been none of the usual gassing on
    about ‘respecting diversity of views in the intellectual marketplace of the university’
    one so often hears in these cases. She’d be gone, and rightly so.

    Yet when it comes to abortion, gay ‘marriage’ and contraception, these academics do
    not have the same moral clarity. Her views were publicly declared and well-known.
    The good bishop didn’t have to hire private detectives to uncover them, after all.
    (Perhaps next time they’ll run their choice by the chancery before announcing it…).

    Catholic higher education in this country is deeply decadent. It should be every bit
    as unthinkable for a Catholic university to honor someone like Ms. Kennedy or
    Mr. Obama as it is for those honors to go to a klansman or a holocaust denier.
    Only those colleges that have that moral clarity deserve both our support and the
    honor of being known as “Catholic”.

  9. “She was scheduled to be awarded an honorary degree of public administration.” Worchester Telegram and Gazette. AMC couldn’t get Obama?
    Mike Petric. I stopped giving money to the collection for Catholic Universities. In fact, if the priest’s homily does not tell me something about God, he will have to wait until next week or until he does for his donation.

  10. It is always about them, not really about their faith, but how they feel. How they want to mold and interpret the world. Not about the Truths that the Catholic faith has taught for 2 thousand years.

  11. I’m so happy that the college did the right thing!!
    And I have to laugh at Ms. Kennedy for thinking it should have gone any other way!!

    If only Notre Dame had the same fortitude. At least, as a result of that mistake…. everyone clearly knows that Mr. Obama is a liar liar pants on fire – whether they choose to believe it or not!

Comments are closed.