Saturday, May 21, 2005
National Catholic Prayer Breakfast
Sister Minereche, Archbishop Chaput, President Bush
President Attends National Catholic Prayer Breakfast: "This morning we also reaffirm that freedom rests on the self-evident truths about human dignity. Pope Benedict XVI recently warned that when we forget these truths, we risk sliding into a dictatorship of relativism where we can no longer defend our values. Catholics and non-Catholics alike can take heart in the man who sits on the chair of St. Peter, because he speaks with affection about the American model of liberty rooted in moral conviction.
This morning we pray for the many Catholics who serve America in the cause of freedom. One of them is an Army Chaplain named Tim Vakoc. He's a beloved priest who was seriously wounded in Iraq last May. We pray for his recovery, we're inspired by his sacrifice. In the finest tradition of American chaplains, he once told his sister, "The safest place for me to be is in the center of God's will, and if that is in the line of fire, that's where I'll be." Father Tim's sister, Anita Brand, and her family, are with us today, and a grateful nation expresses our gratitude to a brave Reverend.
Catholics have made sacrifices throughout American history because they 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. That was the message that Pope John Paul II proclaimed so tirelessly throughout his own life, and it explains the remarkable outpouring of love for His Holiness at the funeral mass that Laura and I were privileged to attend in Rome. It explains why when the men were carrying his wooden casket up the stairs, and they turned to show the casket to the millions that were there, that just as the casket crests, the sun shown for all to see.
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. So, today, I ask the prayers of all Catholics for America's continued trust in God's purpose, for the wisdom to do what's right, and for the strength and the conviction that so long as America remains faithful to its founding truths, America will always be free."
And from the Washington Post: "For Bush, yesterday's breakfast was an opportunity to thank Catholics, who gave him 52 percent of their votes in November, compared with 47 percent for Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.), a Catholic who supports abortion rights. Bush told the crowd, as he does at all religious events, that he was grateful for their prayers, and he reiterated his support for 'a culture of life' that rejects abortion and euthanasia. 'Pope Benedict XVI recently warned that when we forget these truths, we risk sliding into a dictatorship of relativism, where we can no longer defend our values,' Bush said...
The keynote speaker was Denver Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, who said during the presidential campaign that voting for a candidate who supports abortion rights would be a sin that must be confessed before receiving Holy Communion. 'When a public official claims to be Catholic but then says he can't offer his beliefs about the sanctity of the human person as the basis of law, it always means one of two things: That person is either very confused or he's very evasive,' Chaput told the prayer breakfast. 'All law is the imposition of somebody's beliefs on somebody else.'"
The full text of Archbishop Chaput's remarks are here.