It has been a great week for the Office of President of the United States. While promoting his memoirs, President George Bush threw the proverbial gauntlet down showing how the Office of the Presidency should carry itself. With attacks on his Presidency coming almost weekly over the past two years from his passing-the-blame successor, the former President stayed above the fray and reminded the world of the core character he possesses as he remained silent despite opportunist microphones in front of him all week. This, in Bush's way, drew a stronger comparison, and answered any charges, of the present administration more definitively than any written comment or spoken word could have.
In May of 2008, I wrote a post that received a good amount of traffic calling George W. Bush the second Catholic U.S. President with a question mark. Cracking open his memoirs have led me to the feeling again that he is a closet Catholic or a future convert.
On page 113 of Decision Points, Bush writes, "I did feel a responsibility to voice my pro-life convictions and lead the country toward what Pope John Paul II called a culture of life." Interesting, no? He could have gone with a more Protestant statement saying his sense of responsibility came from sacred scripture, or his personal relationship with God, but he surprisingly quotes a Pontiff. Moreover (it is very subtle but when you notice it is very telling and impactful), he aligns his personal views with that of a Pontiff, and the Pontiff's moral teaching. Martin Luther must be rolling over in his grave.
A few pages later, Bush pens that during a private meeting with John Paul he expressed to the Vicar of Christ, "I thanked him for his example of principled leadership. I explained [to the Holy Father] that the Catholic Church's steadfast support of life provided a firm moral foundation on which pro-life politicians like me could take a stand on." An Episcopalian standing on a Catholic foundation? Why can't he stand on the Episcopalian foundation? Again, he is lining himself with the moral teachings of the Magisterium more than his own religion.
Now for the grand finale. Bush remembers the last moments of the funeral Mass of John Paul II that he personally attended, " [The pallbearers] turned to face the crowd and lifted the coffin for the last time. As they did, the clouds parted and the sun shined through onto the simple wooden [coffin]." An Episcopalian believing God shone His favor on a life of Pontiff? Henry VIII is now rolling over in his grave and disturbing multiple wives.
Before everything is said and done, President Bush might very well close his eyes as the second Catholic President.
Blogger Note: It is important in understanding this post to read the evidence I laid out in the original post here. When these two posts are taken together, Bush converting is a much more clearer reality.