9WORCESTER TELEGRAM & GAZETTE) —  Two national religious organizations today will formally ask Bishop Robert J. McManus to reinstate Victoria Reggie Kennedy as the commencement speaker at Anna Maria College.

The small Catholic liberal arts school in Paxton withdrew its invitation last month after the bishop raised concerns with college officials about positions taken by the widow of former U.S. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy on abortion, gay marriage, contraception and other social issues of interest to the church.

The school has yet to announce a new speaker.

Representatives of Catholic Democrats are expected to deliver a petition to the chancery on Elm Street requesting the bishop to reverse his decision. The petition has about 20,000 online signatures.

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