Pence Speaks to National Catholic Prayer Breakfast on Right to Life, Middle East Persecutions

Vice President Mike Pence / Getty Images
Vice President Mike Pence / Getty Images
June 7, 2017

The National Catholic Prayer Breakfast on Tuesday featured a keynote speech from Vice President Mike Pence, who was met with applause as he repeatedly denounced terror attacks, praised American military commitments, and promoted life issues.

Pence spent much of his speech championing the White House, claiming that "American Catholics have an ally in Donald Trump" and that Trump has "taken action to protect public faith." He received a standing ovation when he reminded the audience that he was the one to cast the "tie-breaking vote in the United States Senate that allowed states to defund Planned Parenthood."

Pence has acted as a Trump liaison to religious conservatives, having previously spoken at the national March for Life.

"The sweetest words the president and I ever hear," he concluded, "are when people reach out at an event, grab a hand, and say I'm praying for you."

Parallel to the inter-faith (but Protestant dominated) National Prayer Breakfast, held every year in Washington since 1953, the annual National Catholic Prayer Breakfast was established in 2004 by Rick Santorum and others who said they were responding to the call of Pope John Paul II for a "New Evangelization."

The event has always had both political and social purposes. On the one hand, it has politicians tell Catholics about the current political climate; on the other, it lets Catholics signal to politicians their concerns and their political strength.

The first purpose was accomplished this year by the presence of the vice president. The second purpose was achieved by the other two main speakers: Mother Olga Yaqob, founder of the Daughters of Mary of Nazareth and the order of Marth Maryam Sisters—Missionaries of the Virgin Mary, who spoke about her service among the poor of Iraq, and Archbishop of the Military Services Timothy Broglio, who picked up Pence's support for military service and spoke of the continuing faith of soldiers.

Between the speeches were a preview for a new Catholic movie and a video about Catholic universities.

Published under: Mike Pence