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A Massachusetts bishop says he stands by his decision to ask a Catholic college to withdraw its invitation for U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy's widow to speak at commencement.

Bishop Robert McManus of Worcester (WUS'-tur) last month asked Anna Maria College to rescind its invitation to Victoria Kennedy because of concerns over her position on some social issues that counter Catholic teachings, including abortion and gay marriage.

Catholic Democrats and Faithful America on Wednesday delivered a 20,000-signature petition asking the bishop to change his mind. They said McManus was politicizing the graduation.

The Telegram & Gazette ( http://bit.ly/IJt6KR) reports that in a statement Thursday, McManus said he stands behind his original concerns and withdrawal of the invitation was "in the best interest of all parties."

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Information from: Telegram & Gazette, http://www.telegram.com

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