When Hobgood informed McFarland about the planned speech this month, McFarland replied in a letter that he found the invitation ''extremely disappointing'' because of what he called Kissling's record of ''determined opposition to the Catholic Church and its leadership.''
Kissling, a frequent commentator in the media, has denounced Pope John Paul II as ''authoritarian'' and referred to some US bishops as ''flawed'' and ''bullies.'' She has questioned the Vatican's permanent observer status at the UN and its positions on a range of sexual and ethical issues.
McFarland said he supported free speech and ''strong feminist positions'' at Holy Cross, but said the women's studies faculty should have been more careful in its choice of speakers.
''Her criticism has been strident, personal, manipulative, and unfair,'' McFarland wrote in the letter, a copy of which was provided to the Globe. ''Her presence will be deeply offensive to many people here, including me, and will be an embarrassment to the institution.''
Very nice, but how about, Ms. Kissling supports the purposeful killing of unborn human beings. We don't. So we're not going to bother with her.
Wouldn't that be a lot simpler?