Let Vicki Do Talkin’, Bishop Do the Walkin’
By Margery Eagan
April 26, 2012
Let’s call it a “Catholic spring.”
Via the same social networking that created an Arab spring and toppled dictators, local Catholic activists in three short weeks collected 20,000 signatures protesting a Worcester bishop’s uninviting of Ted Kennedy’s widow, Vicki, to speak at the commencement of Anna Maria College in nearby Paxton.
The same networking could prove a powerful tool for frustrated Catholics opposed to their supposed leaders, the U.S. Catholic bishops, and hoping to organize where their dollars will go.
Yesterday thick bound books containing protesters’ signatures — and many blistering attacks — were brought to the sidewalk outside Worcester diocesan headquarters and handed to Ray Delisle, spokesman for Bishop Robert J. McManus. Delisle said McManus was not there.
McManus has declared Kennedy unfit for Anna Maria because her views on abortion and gays are out of line with Catholic teachings. Yet yesterday Delisle could point to no specific instances of her speaking out publicly on either issue — though her late husband surely did.
Meanwhile, McManus himself appears out of line with Catholic teachings on healing the post-sex abuse crisis. He’s consistently played “hard ball” with child abuse survivors, said Skip Shea, a Worcester survivor. Mitchell Garabedian, a Boston attorney who’s represented hundreds of survivors, characterized McManus as “one of the worst” bishops, refusing to provide lists of credibly accused priests or to settle credible claims as many fellow bishops, including Cardinal Sean O’Malley, have done.
What we have here is so familiar: the compromised bishop judging the supposedly compromised Catholic. Steven Krueger of Catholic Democrats, who organized yesterday’s event with Faithful America, accused McManus and bishops both of “politicizing the church” and of “a political double standard.” Kennedy is a Democrat. But Republicans out of line with church teachings on war, the death penalty, torture and the poor — including House Speaker John Boehner and Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia — are routinely honored by Catholic institutions.
No one has uninvited Vicki Kennedy from speaking at powerful, wired Boston College Law School.
Were justice to prevail here, Kennedy would speak at Anna Maria and McManus would stay home. Because that won’t happen, mortified Catholics can be happy at least for this much: 20,000 of the faithful have trashed him for trashing her.