WASHINGTON — Preservation of the family, marriage and the unborn were the main themes of the annual National Catholic Prayer Breakfast at the Marriott Marquis hotel in Washington April 23.
“Faith in the crucified and risen Christ shields us from two cold and deadly sins: arrogant presumption and cynical despair,” said Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted of Phoenix, the guest speaker. “Neither of which are appropriate in a Christian leader. The enemy of our souls does not care which we prefer.”
Bishop Olmsted, who is a consultant to the pro-life committee of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said the matter of legal abortion has defined his ministry, since he was ordained a priest in Lincoln, Neb., in 1973, the year of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision, which legalized abortion on demand.
“It is my pastoral duty to proclaim the Gospel of life and the protection in law of the most vulnerable among us. The love of Christ compels me.”
Speaking of the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, recently blocked by House Democrats, Bishop Olmsted asked, “Where does blatant disregard for a child’s life come from? From hardened hearts. A child demands love, and love costs.”
Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff and director of the Office of Management and Budget, spoke briefly about President Donald Trump’s commitment to religious liberty.
Garnering a loud ovation was Abby Johnson, the pro-life activist who runs And Then There Were None, a ministry to former abortion clinic workers, who was recently portrayed in the film drama “Unplanned,” which proved to be successful at the box office.
Also speaking were Sister Bethany Madonna, vocations director of the Sisters of Life, and Curtis Martin, the founder and CEO of the Fellowship of Catholic University Students.
The breakfast has been held annually since 2004. The event was established in 2004 in response to St. John Paul’s call for a new evangelization. George W. Bush is the only president to address the gathering, from 2005 to 2008.
Vice President Mike Pence addressed the breakfast in 2017.