WASHINGTON, Mar 23, 2001 ( – President George W. Bush received a standing ovation yesterday from cardinals, bishops, clergy and laymen after a speech defending the unborn and praising Pope John Paul II. In his speech, delivered at the opening of the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center in northeast Washington, Bush said: “The culture of life is a welcoming culture, never excluding, never dividing, never despairing and always affirming the goodness of life in all its seasons. In the culture of life we must make room for the stranger. We must defend in love the innocent child waiting to be born.”

Reuters reported that only a few, including pro-abortion “Catholic” Democratic Sen. Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts and his niece Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg, remained in their seats during the standing ovation.

Regarding the pope Bush said: “On his four pilgrimages to America, he has spoken with wisdom and feeling about our strengths and our flaws, our successes and our needs,” Bush told the crowd of Catholic leaders. And he is never more eloquent than when he speaks for a culture of life. His is not the power of armies or technology or wealth. It is the unexpected power of a baby in a stable, of a man on a cross, of a simple fisherman who carried a message of hope to Rome.” Bush said that the best way to honor the pope would be “to listen to his teaching and put his teaching into action in America.”“The center we dedicate today celebrates the pope’s message, its comfort and its challenge,” Bush said. “This place stands for the dignity of the human person, the value of every life and the splendor of truth.”

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