Worcester, Oct. 11, 2007 (CWNews.com) -
A Massachusetts bishop has strongly criticized a Jesuit-run college in his diocese, hinting that he could withdraw the school's recognition as a Catholic institution. Bishop Robert McManus of Worcester issued a statement on October 10, responding to protests from lay Catholics about plans for a conference at the College of the Holy Cross in which Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts will make presentations. Siding with the pro-life protestors, Bishop McManus disclosed that he had urged Holy Cross to cancel the conference plans. The organizations participating in the scheduled event, the bishop said, "promote positions on artificial contraception and abortion that are contrary to the moral teachings of the Catholic Church." Saying that the Church's position on key issues involving respect for life is "manifestly clear," he questioned why a Catholic school would offer these groups a forum. The bishop warned that the conference could create a "situation of offering scandal understood in its proper theological sense, i.e. an attitude or behavior which leads another to do evil." By canceling the conference, he said, Holy Cross would not infringe upon academic freedom, but would "make unambiguously clear the Catholic identity and mission of the College of the Holy Cross." Bishop McManus noted that as the head of the Worcester diocese in which Holy Cross is located he has the "pastoral and canonical responsibility to determine what institutions can properly call themselves Catholic.” He added: "This is a duty that I do not take lightly…" The bishop concluded his public statement by expressing his "fervent wish" that Holy Cross would cancel plans for the conference, "so that the college can continue to be recognized as a Catholic institution committed to promoting the moral teaching of the Roman Catholic Church."
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