DALLAS, August 4, 2004 – ( – Yesterday President George W. Bush addressed the 122nd Knights of Columbus Convention in Dallas. The President spoke at length to the Knights about the steps his administration has taken in favour of the needy. But he also stressed that private enterprises, especially faith-based ones, do best: “I believe one of the most effective ways our government can help those in need is to help the charities and community groups that are doing God’s work every day.”  President Bush congratulated the Knights on a number of counts, including their participation in the faith-based initiatives program. But his highest praise was reserved for the Knights’ defence of the family: “You’re defending the values of faith and family that bind us as a nation. I appreciate your fight to protect children from obscenity. I appreciate your working to protect the Pledge of Allegiance, to keep us ‘one nation under God.’ I want to thank you for the defence of the traditional family. That is a most fundamental institution for our society. I appreciate the fact you’re promoting the culture of life.”  The President was frequently interrupted by applause from his audience, which included such Catholic dignitaries as Cardinal McCarrick of Washinton DC, Cardinal Egan of New York, Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, and Cardinal Keeler of Baltimore. He was applauded when he mentioned the law ending “the brutal practice of partial-birth abortion,” the Born Alive Infants Protection Act and the Unborn Victims of Violence Act. Also meeting with applause was his promise to “defend the sacred bond of marriage” by constitutional amendment if necessary, and to ban human cloning. Referring to cloning, he said, “Human life is a creation of God, not a commodity to be exploited by man.”  jmo