Tuesday, April 15, 2008

US RC nonpartisan political group rightly protests neocon takeover of National ‘Catholic’ Prayer Breakfast
For the second year in a row, Catholics United has called for scrutiny of an event labeled the National “Catholic” Prayer Breakfast, which is scheduled for April 18, 2008 at the Hilton Washington. Although the event is billed as nonpartisan, its board of directors is made up entirely of Republican operatives, several of whom are engaged in [Roman] Catholic outreach for the GOP and for presidential candidate John McCain. This year’s prayer breakfast will feature an address from President George Bush as well as the expected attendance of Senator McCain himself.

Catholics United has launched a widespread effort to inform individual Catholics and members of the media about the true nature of the prayer breakfast, and to remind Americans that President Bush and Senator McCain are out of step with Catholic teaching on a number of issues – chief among them war and torture. This week the organization will be reaching out to reporters who are covering the event, and calling on its 25,000 members to bring the Pope’s message against war to the prayer breakfast by signing an online petition or by participating in a prayerful demonstration outside the Hilton Washington on the day of the event.

Catholics United also sent a letter to prayer breakfast keynote speaker Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City, encouraging him to use his position “to honor the fullness of the Catholic faith by speaking prophetically for a responsible end to the war in Iraq, and by drawing a clear line between the Church and partisan politics.”

“The National ‘Catholic’ Prayer Breakfast is at best a shameful attempt to shoehorn authentic Catholic teaching into a partisan political agenda,” said Chris Korzen, executive director of Catholics United “Even as Pope Benedict XVI delivers an historic address to the United Nations next Friday, calling on the global community to reject violence and strive for a more peaceful world, these partisan operatives will be using the name of our church to lend support for a morally compromised agenda that includes torture and unjust war. These are threats to human life that the pope and the U.S. Catholic Bishops have repeatedly condemned.”

The White House has used the president’s past prayer breakfast appearances to shape media coverage suggesting that the Administration’s policies enjoy widespread support within the Catholic community. While the National “Catholic” Prayer Breakfast pretends to be a church-sanctioned event, in enjoys no formal relationship with the U.S. Catholic Bishops.

“The host of Republican activists that comprise the breakfast’s board of directors make its partisan commitments very clear,” said Catholics United organizing director James Salt. “The organization has a long way to go to achieve the nonpartisan requirements of its nonprofit tax status.”

Just shut up and push the button for McCain, kid

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