BOSTON, May 23, 2003 ( – The Cardinal Newman Society has reported that three bishops have now cancelled planned appearances at the commencement ceremonies of the College of the Holy Cross (MA), College Misericordia (PA) and the University of Scranton (PA).  Cardinal Newman Society has protested the selection of MSNBC commentator Chris Matthews to speak at both the University of Scranton and the College of the Holy Cross because of his abortion-rights position.  In his television commentary and newspaper columns, Matthews has publicly declared “I’m for abortion rights,” even appearing to endorse partial-birth abortion for severely handicapped babies.  As LifeSite reported yesterday, Bishop Daniel Reilly of Worcester, Massachusetts, announced that he will not attend the Holy Cross due to the pro-abortion speaker Chris Matthews.  Further, Bishop James Timlin of Scranton, Pennsylvania, will not attend the University of Scranton’s commencement ceremony on Sunday, citing a policy of refusing to share a stage with public abortion-rights advocates.  Auxiliary Bishop John Dougherty of Scranton, an advisor to Cardinal Newman Society, did not attend College Misericordia’s ceremony on Saturday because of concerns about the commencement speakers, journalists Cokie and Steven Roberts.  Steve Roberts’ writings portray both pro-life and radical feminist activists as extreme, whereas the “middle” or “moderate” position agrees “that a woman has a right to choose abortion, but the right is not unlimited” (U.S. News & World Report, April 12, 1993).  The Roberts’ joint column also has repeatedly echoed Steve’s call for “moderation” on the abortion issue, endorsing restrictions on abortion but espousing abortion rights.  The Roberts have labeled those who respect the dignity of all human life as extremists, while labeling individuals like Christine Todd Whitman-who vetoed a ban on partial-birth abortion—as moderates.  The Cardinal Newman Society protest is part of its annual survey of commencement speakers whose public actions and statements are opposed to Catholic teaching.  See for a complete list. The Society has teamed up with the American Life League which is also protesting pro-abortion commencement speakers as part of its “Crusade for the Defense of our Catholic Church.”