Statement Of: The Officers and Board Members of The Sycamore Trust together with associated Notre Dame Alumni and other members of the Notre Dame Family Addressed To: Father Jenkins and the University Fellows and Members of the Board We wish to express our astonished dismay at, and deep disappointment in, the decision to invite President Barack Obama to deliver this year’s Commencement Address and to confer upon him an honorary degree. President Obama’s statements and executive and legislative actions identify him as unremittingly hostile to the moral claims of the unborn and accordingly to a central teaching of the Catholic Church. By virtue of his position, he is now the nation’s leading champion of virtually unrestricted abortion rights. Notre Dame is the nation’s leading Catholic institution. Its action will be publicized widely by enemies of the Church and by pro-abortion advocates as a sign that the pro-life position is too “inflexible.” Notre Dame will be praised by condescending secularists and anti-life advocates for its display of “tolerance.” But to those who honor steadfast commitment to principle and respect for the lives of the unborn, the University’s action will be seen as the sacrifice of fundamental moral values in an opportunistic grasp for secular acclaim and, perhaps, federal favor. This is not, we stress, a question of whether to interdict the President of the United States at the gates of the University or of withholding the respect to which he is entitled. It is, rather, a matter of according honor to one whose views on abortion are morally repellant to the Church to which the University claims fealty, to the Church’s faithful members, and to countless loyal alumni of the University and others of its extended family. No matter any disclaimers by the University or what President Obama says, the ineradicable facts that will stamp this occasion are the University’s decision to inscribe in the University roll of honorees the name of the most pro-abortion President in the nation’s history and its choice of him as the person to speak to the 2009 graduates about the values they should hold dear. This compromising action gravely diminishes Notre Dame. It profoundly wounds its claim to be a Catholic institution. It strikes with incalculable cost at the pride of its graduates. We protest.