President Bush Reflects on Popes John Paul and Benedict at Catholic Prayer Breakfast

Fri Apr 7, 2006 - 12:15 pm EST

By John-Henry Westen

WASHINGTON, April 7, 2006 ( - Speaking at the 3rd Annual National Catholic Prayer Breakfast at the Hilton Washington this morning, President George W. Bush said that Pope John Paul II “set off one of the greatest revolutions for freedom the world has ever known.”

“When Pope John Paul II ascended to the chair of St. Peter, the Berlin Wall was still standing,” recalled the President. “His native Poland was occupied by a communist power. And the division of Europe looked like a permanent scar across the continent. Yet Pope John Paul told us, ‘Be not afraid,’ because he knew that an empire built on lies was ultimately destined to fail.”

“By reminding us that our freedom and dignity rests on truths about man and his nature, Pope John Paul II set off one of the greatest revolutions for freedom the world has ever known,” he said.

Turning his comments to Pope Benedict XVI, President Bush remarked, “Like his predecessor, Pope Benedict understands that the measure of a free society is how it treats the weakest and most vulnerable among us.”

To the crowd’s delight, evidenced by their applause, the President appreciatively recalled Pope Benedict’s pro-life Christmas homily.“In his Christmas homily, the Pope noted that the Savior came to earth as a ‘defenseless child,’ and said that the splendor of that Christmas shines upon every child, born and unborn,” he said.Â

The President followed up by outlining his government’s pro-life initiatives and expressed his hopes for a future where the culture of life is fully embraced in the United States of America.“Here in the United States, we work to strengthen a culture of life, through many state and federal initiatives that expand the protections of the unborn,” he said.“These initiatives reflect the consensus of the American people acting through their elected representatives, and we will continue to work for the day when every child is welcome in life and protected in law.”

The keynote speaker at the breakfast was His Excellency Robert Morlino, Bishop of the Madison, WI. EWTN’s Raymond Arroyo and Fr. Neil McDermott, O.P., who is responsible for reconstruction of Catholic schools in the New Orleans area, also spoke. Catholic Theologian Scott Hahn and Fr. Benedict Groeschel, gave talks following the breakfast.

See the President’s full address here:

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