Bush Stresses School Choice, Sanctity of Life at Catholic Prayer Breakfast
From Cybercast News Service:
(CNSNews.com) - A renewed commitment to the "dignity of human life" and greater choice in education can help to rekindle the promise of America, President Bush said during the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C., on Friday.
The president praised Catholic Americans for the role they have played in upholding the "self-evident truths" outlined in the Declaration of Independence. He also credited Catholic schools for providing inner city students with viable alternatives, while expressing concern over the long term durability of these institutions.
"I appreciate the tremendous sacrifices many dioceses are making to keep their inner-city schools going," Bush said. "I am worried too many of these schools are closing and our nation needs to do something about it."
Catholic schools have supplied "millions of Americans" with the "knowledge and character" they need to succeed in life the president told the gathering. He said "thousands of non-Catholic" children also benefit from the schools and pledged to help Catholic schools reach others in need.
The annual breakfast, now in its fourth year, was conceived in response to Pope John Paul II's call to a "New Evangelization" for Catholics. This year's event featured two panel discussions - one on "Public Policy Issues of Interest to Catholics" and the other on "Catholics in Entertainment and the New Evangelization."
Bush, who is himself a Methodist, stressed his commitment to the pro-life cause, drawing strong applause.
"In our day, there is a temptation to manipulate life in ways that do not respect the humanity of the person," the president said, in apparent reference to the push for embryonic stem cell research and last week's Senate vote to expand federal funding for the controversial research. Bush has vowed to veto the bill, as he did with similar legislation last year.
"When that happens the most vulnerable among us can be valued by their utility to others - instead of their own inherent worth. We must continue to work for a culture of life - where the strong protect the weak, and where we recognize in every human life the image of our creator."
Others in attendance included Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justice Sam Alito, both Catholics and the newest additions to the Supreme Court. [Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.)] said Bush's long-term legacy will be greatly enhanced as result of elevating Roberts and Alito to the nation's highest court.
Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
Catholic Prayer Breakfast: Full Text of Remarks by President Bush, Archbishop Wuerl (2 links)
4th Annual National Catholic Prayer Breakfast - April 12-14, Washington, D.C.