Hilary White

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President Bush Says Best Way to Honor Pope John Paul is to “Build a Culture of Life”

Hilary White

Bush, ChaputWASHINGTON, May 25, 2005 (LifeSiteNews.com) - President Bush spoke this week at the second annual National Catholic Prayer Breakfast in Washington. At the breakfast Bush said he was happy to address attendees and “to pray that America uses the gift of freedom to build a culture of life.”

“Catholics,” Bush said, “understand that freedom is a divine gift that carries with it serious responsibilities. Among the greatest of these responsibilities is protecting the most vulnerable members of our society.” Speaking of the late Pope John Paul, the President said, “The best way to honor this great champion of human freedom is to continue to build a culture of life where the strong protect the weak.”

Also giving an address was Denver’s Archbishop Charles Chaput who decried the trend that would see Christians excluded from public life because of their beliefs. Chaput said, “Today’s national discussion about religion and politics is sometimes so very strange. If God is the center of our lives, then of course that fact will influence our behavior, including our political decisions…”

“What’s unnatural and unhealthy” said the Archbishop, who is known for his blunt defence of the political freedoms of Catholics, “is the kind of public square where religious faith is seen as unwelcome and dangerous. But that seems to be exactly what some people want: a public square stripped of God and stripped of religious faith.”

Chaput also critiqued the result of 200 years of Catholic attempts to “fit in” as US citizens first and Catholics second. “Have we really examined the cost of our fitting in? Since the 1960s, many American Catholics have been acting like we’re lucky just to be tolerated in the public square. In other words, we’d better not be too Catholic or somebody will be offended.”

In his usual compelling language, Chaput asked rhetorically if Catholics in the US were ready to stand up for their beliefs. “Are we angry enough about what’s wrong with the world—the killing of millions of unborn children through abortion; the neglect of the poor and the elderly; the mistreatment of immigrants in our midst; the abuse of science in embryonic stem cell research? Do we really have the courage of our convictions to change those things?”

One of the event’s organizers estimated the crowd at 1600 and said that it was attended by many Evangelicals. Austin Ruse of the Culture of Life Foundation in New York wrote, “The President’s presence at the still-young event was an indicator that he appreciated the vital role the Catholic vote played in his 2004 election.”



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