Notre Dame Alums Receive Pro-Life Mailings

April 30, 2009 - 6:49 AM
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South Bend, Ind. (AP) - Thousands of University of Notre Dame alumni have received letters by an anti-abortion group urging them to demand the university cancel President Barack Obama's upcoming commencement appearance.
 
Operation Rescue founder Randall Terry said Wednesday his group sent letters to 50,000 alumni using an alumni directory provided by a Notre Dame graduate. Terry declined to identify the graduate.
 
The university has received more than two dozen calls or e-mails from graduates unhappy about the mailings, said Charles F. Lennon, executive director of the school's alumni association. Other campus offices also have received complaints, he said.
 
Lennon said Notre Dame has a strict privacy policy and doesn't provide alumni mailing lists to outside organizations. The university plans to deliver a cease-and-desist order to Terry's group, he said.
 
The hand-addressed envelopes, with no return address, began arriving last week.
 
Notre Dame's invitation for Obama to deliver its May 17 commencement address and receive an honorary degree has drawn criticism at the Roman Catholic school because of the president's support for abortion rights and embryonic stem-cell research.
 
Obama will be the ninth U.S. president to receive an honorary degree from Notre Dame and sixth sitting president to address graduates. Other commencement speakers have included Dwight Eisenhower, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and George W. Bush.
 
Dozens of bishops have criticized the university and its president, the Rev. John Jenkins, over the Obama invitation. On Monday, former U.S. ambassador to the Vatican Mary Ann Glendon said she would not accept the school's top honor as planned because of the plan to honor Obama.