Skip to comments.Closet Catholic In the White House? (you be the judge)
Posted on 04/15/2008 8:07:25 AM PDT by NYer
Daniel Burke at the Washington Post thinks that President Bush might be pulling a Tony Blair. Burke tells of the Catholic based culture that rules the west wing and some other lingering suspicions.
Shortly after Pope Benedict XVI's election in 2005, President Bush met with a small circle of advisers in the Oval Office. As some mentioned their own religious backgrounds, the president remarked that he had read one of the new pontiff's books about faith and culture in Western Europe.While this concept of a Catholic run White House may be humorous to some, Fr. Richard John Neuhaus says that it is not so far fetched.
Save for one other soul, Bush was the only non-Catholic in the room. But his interest in the pope's writings was no surprise to those around him. As the White House prepares to welcome Benedict on Tuesday, many in Bush's inner circle expect the pontiff to find a kindred spirit in the president. Because if Bill Clinton can be called America's first black president, some say, then George W. Bush could well be the nation's first Catholic president.
"I don't think there's any question about it," says Rick Santorum, former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania and a devout Catholic, who was the first to give Bush the "Catholic president" label. "He's certainly much more Catholic than Kennedy."
Bush has also placed Catholics in prominent roles in the federal government and relied on Catholic tradition to make a public case for everything from his faith-based initiative to antiabortion legislation. He has wedded Catholic intellectualism with evangelical political savvy to forge a powerful electoral coalition.Finally, Burke hints that some close to the President might not be suprised if he pulled a Tony Blair one day by converting after leaving office.
"There is an awareness in the White House that the rich Catholic intellectual tradition is a resource for making the links between Christian faith, religiously grounded moral judgments and public policy," says Richard John Neuhaus, a Catholic priest and editor of the journal First Things who has tutored Bush in the church's social doctrines for nearly a decade.
Moreover, people close to Bush say that he has professed a not-so-secret admiration for the church's discipline and is personally attracted to the breadth and unity of its teachings. A New York priest who has befriended the president said that Bush respects the way Catholicism starts at the foundation -- with the notion that the papacy is willed by God and that the pope is Peter's successor. "I think what fascinates him about Catholicism is its historical plausibility," says this priest. "He does appreciate the systematic theology of the church, its intellectual cogency and stability." The priest also says that Bush "is not unaware of how evangelicalism -- by comparison with Catholicism -- may seem more limited both theologically and historically."Color me skeptical, but I don't think so.
Former Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson, another evangelical with an affinity for Catholic teaching, says that the key to understanding Bush's domestic policy is to view it through the lens of Rome. Others go a step further.
Paul Weyrich, an architect of the religious right, detects in Bush shades of former British prime minister Tony Blair, who converted to Catholicism last year. "I think he is a secret believer," Weyrich says of Bush. Similarly, John DiIulio, Bush's first director of faith-based initiatives, has called the president a "closet Catholic." And he was only half-kidding.
Anyone recall the photo of President Bush sitting next to a table on which was a religious icon?
Note to Paul: You don't have to be Catholic to be a believer.
It was the best decision I ever made in my life.
Bush never made it a secret he is a believer. He was up front about that, it’s why he endeared himself to so many voters.
Yes, that was a small icon of the Virgin Mary, given to him by his brother (who is Catholic).
Amen! But, it seemed as though Weyrich's statement was insinuating that Catholics are the only "true" believers.
I can’t see him bowing ang scraping to all those statues. And the first time he called the Bishop “Old Playboy” that would be the end of that.
Thanks for the insulting rhetoric - somebody HAS to get that ball rolling.
I agree. I'm a protestant, but I don't fault Catholics on their faith either. It is Weyrich's statement I have a problem with:
"I think he is a secret believer," Weyrich says of Bush.
No. He is not. He is a very public believer!
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." - John 3:16
And most importantly, so does Jesus.
You knew it was going to get started quickly. Soon some of the usual suspects will be here, so all I’ll say is:
Ok, I will join in.
I am a Catholic and I love the beautiful art in our churches....it inspires prayer. It’s like entering another world to reflect and pray in a beautiful old church. Nothing wrong with that. And I pray to God alone.
Pope Benedict XVI has NEVER been accused of adultory. You imply otherwise.
You, AppyPappy, are insulting your fellow FReepers.
Ya’ll are too tense and take yourselves too seriously.
The statement was in reference to whether Bush might be contemplating becoming Catholic. It is not meant to say he is not a believer in general it speaks to a specific belief.
I interpret this to mean he was a follower of the Pope as he was reading his writings. I believe Bush read his book and writings to prepare himself to converse with the Pope when he met him. That would make Bush a boy scout, always prepared. Not a “closet” Catholic. It shows that Bush reaches out to others to understand them. Weyrich’s statements are silly.
PPPHHHHHHTTTT! You owe me a new keyboard! Good thing I was drinking sugar-free lemonade, or I’d send you the exterminator bill, too.
And you don’t take yourself serious enough, but I will gladly accept your backhanded apology. Thank you. ;^)
Not very persuasive, imo. I don’t think President Bush shows any sign of being dissatisfied with his present religious beliefs and practices.
Add this to the fact that the Knights of Columbus were asked to be part of the welcoming of the Pope to the White House. At the K of C Supreme Convention in Dallas, President Bush exhorted his Third Degree Knight brother to “Go for the Fourth.”
Do you have a link to that Andyman?
Muslims are believers in Islam. Jews are believers in Judaism. Democrats are believers in Stalinism. And Catholics are believers in Catholicism. Protestants are believers in Protestantism. More broadly, Catholics and Protestants are believers in Christ. Weyrich was talking in the narrower sense: that Bush is a believer in Catholicism. I know in some Bible-Belt speech, “believer” means “Christian.” But Weyrich wasn’t speaking in that context. I’m sure he didn’t intend to say that Protestants aren’t believers in Christ.
Oh heck why don’t why just save them some time.
If he becomes Catholic, Bush would be wrong because.
Catholics worship Mary and consider her a new member of the Trinity. Or more properly the God Quartet.
Catholics are cannibals.
Constantine stole Christianity from the true believers and set himself up as first Pope.
The Mass is a direct copy of the Babylonian Mystery, Cult of Mithras, Druid Sorcery, Noh Drama- take your pick.
Catholics think the Pope can never, ever be wrong. If he says all Catholics must write with their left hand. THey gotta do it.
Catholics worship dead people. Catholics call up the spirits of the dead and demand these spirits do their bidding. I mean that is the same thing as asking those in heaven to pray for us.
Catholics believe you can work or buy your way into heaven.
Mary again, Mary, blah, blah, blah, Mary, Mary, blah, blah, blah.
Catholics are prevented by shock troops of the Vatican from reading the Bible. The Bible’s they do read are heavily censored much like WWII military mail. Where the name Jesus appears in Protestant Bibles, Vatican censors have replaced it with the name of the current Pope.
The Vatican conspiracy One World Order still claims tax exempt status though they clearly make political endorsements all the time. The quest for world domination should not be funded by US taxpayers.
JFK wasn't president in the early 1960s? I seem to have heard something about an assassination . . .
No doubt none of them were at all surprised.
I think you forgot a few. Doesn’t the Pope chew AA batteries and shoot lightning bolts out of his fillings, which were stolen from concentration camp victims when he was in the SS?
this is a silly article.
as a non-catholic (as the denomination goes) christian, I have no problem showing repsect to catholic clergy and their bishops.
They are deserving of a great deal more respect that the political opportunists who operate the televangilist circuit.
The Pope, especially with this elegant statements on islam, is a great deal relevant as a world leader than some of the buffoons we have to suffer in the GOP.
Well, I’m a Knight and I dare say Bush is more Catholic in his beliefs that most in the K of C.
For instance Sal DiMasi Speaker of the Mass House in a K of C guy...and a public self proclaimed Episcopagan with a 100% Planned Parenthood rating (only because they can’t go higher)
Definitely moreso that Kennedy...without Kennedy’s Houston Speech there would be no legal Abortion or Same Sex “marriage” in Mass.....I must blame the contraception on 1934 Lambeth though.
All-time fave pic.
Not grown up behavior at all.
For any Catholic to express surprise that others don't really agree with statues (or icons) is simply beyond belief. It's old news! Time to get over it and move on.
>> I dont think President Bush shows any sign of being dissatisfied with his present religious beliefs and practices. <<
Quite to the contrary: Bush has been a Methodist. He found the United Methodist Church, which is the predominant white Methodist church in the DC area to be so political and intolerant, that, shortly following his election, he could not attend their services: no matter where he went, the pastor would angrily denounce him, pointing his finger at him as an object of hate, throughout his sermon. Bush began attending black Methodist churches (AME?), until they became too hostile following the outbreak of war.
As of late, Bush appears to not belong to any specific congregation; he has attended St. John’s Episcopal church, which is right next to the White House, many times, but plainly he must be uncomfortable with the strife of that church. If anything, his attendance at an Anglican church is consistent with seeking a more liturgical, formalized style of worship. It may well be that he is “shopping” for a spiritual home.
The Knights in the White House I got from my K of C State Deputy. He said 30 Knights (without swords) have been training for 2 months in preparation for the event. It was President Bush who made the request. EWTN will be carrying the event.
I agree. We should all refresh our tinfoil hats and trip a light fandango with the fine, grown-up Bush Derangement Syndrome patients at the link in post 34:
Roman Catholic Jeb Bush is himself a Third Degree Knight of Columbus according to his brother Skull and Bonesman Luciferian Crypto-Catholic George W. Bush ...
No doubt the current Pope would be more comfortable in the Disciples of Christ than in the Latin Rite but stuff happens and we can't always get what we'd like.
Okay, shows what I know.
Bush has always shown great respect for conservative religious leaders, particularly the Rev’d Dr. Billy Graham and Pope John Paul II. Pope Benedict XVI would be no different. This stems from Bush’s stong personal relationship with the Risen Lord and his strong understanding of good vs evil.
Isn’t the “secret” Jesuit/Knights of Malta(they’re the same thing) oath is banned from the religion forum for being thoroughly debunked?
Yeah, RR’s father was Catholic, his mother, a Protestant, raised him same. His brother Moon was raised Catholic.
There are churches which celebrate services in Aramaic—the language of Christ.
EWTN - World Over Live - 4/11/08 - Raymond Arroyo Interviews President Bush (excerpts here)
Friday, April 11, 2008 1:05:26 PM · 3 of 9
Notwithstanding to NYer
W seems to be Catholic at his core. Certainly moreso than Tony Blair.
Perhaps W will have announce his intellectual conversion once he leaves office.
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awesome post, had me chuckling along....
man, have i heard all those over and over and over...
I have no knowledge of that. SO if that oath is fake, show me the real one.
im not surprised about those and their thoughts of icons and statues, but their continual lies, misinformation and downright ignorance over the true meaning....and the strawmen they build with that ‘knowledge’....
“The Knights in the White House I got from my K of C State Deputy. He said 30 Knights (without swords) have been training for 2 months in preparation for the event. It was President Bush who made the request. EWTN will be carrying the event.”