Monday, April 21, 2008

Kathryn Jean Lopez on the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast

Kathryn Jean Lopez writes at The Corner on National Review Online:
I’ve read it a couple of times now and I don’t know what event Kathleen Kennedy Townsend and friends are talking about here. In their post about the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast, I learn that “the organizers bring Rovian style tactics to our faith, perpetuating the sharpening of religious differences on a narrow selection of social issues.” A group I'd never heard of before they started sending me e-mails about the breakfast last week, accused the breakfast of being a “shameful attempt to shoehorn authentic Catholic teaching into a partisan political agenda,” as a write-up on the U.S. News website reports.

Now, I was there Friday morning (as I have been in the past). The breakfast and its organizers did the opposite of sharpen religious differences.

That’s not to say that they’re weren’t a lot of Republicans there. If I had to bet money, based on the reaction to John McCain’s presence in the audience, it was a majority Republican crowd. But it was not exclusively a Republican event — not on stage or in the audience.

Anyone who wants to try to make a partisan case against the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast is trying to create a fiction about the event. I walked in to people praying the rosary and left after a series of prayers. And no one even prayed for the defeat of Democrats. Maxine Waters was there. KTT & friends say that the breakfast was about “division,” not “hope.” But I’ll tell you: I walked away with a lot of hope, having sat next to an energetic, articulate, prayerful, orthodox young parish priest (pastor, actually) of whom I couldn’t get enough.

Ramesh Ponnuru responds:
Keep in mind that Townsend has complained that churches make a big deal about abortion and stem-cell research—she's an Emily's List Democrat—instead of focusing on the "large issues" where they (supposedly) agree with liberals. Her problem isn't with Republicans; it's with her church's teachings.
(emphasis added)

Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
Coverage of National Catholic Prayer Breakfast [UPDATED]

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