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House Passes Sensenbrenner Resolution Urging President to Award Pope John Paul II the Presidential M

November 18, 2003 - 12:00 PST

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MEDIA ADVISORY

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The House today by voice vote approved a bipartisan resolution encouraging President George W. Bush to award the highest civilian honor of the United States government, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, to His Holiness Pope John Paul II. House Judiciary Committee Chairman F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr. (R-Wis.) introduced H. Con. Res 313 on October 28, 2003 to commemorate the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Pope's ministry as Bishop of Rome and Supreme Pastor of the Catholic Church and to recognize the Pope's significant, enduring, and historic contributions to the causes of freedom, human dignity, and peace. H. Con. Res. 313 has over 40 House cosponsors from both parties and now moves to the Senate for its consideration.

Chairman Sensenbrenner stated, "Literally billions of people around the world have been touched by the Pope's ministry as well as his personal example of faith and forgiveness. During the celebration of the Pope's Jubilee Year, it is particularly appropriate that we, as Americans who cherish freedom, recognize his unparalleled service to human and religious freedom. I'm particularly grateful to Chairman Tom Davis (R-Va.) for his leadership in expeditiously moving this bipartisan resolution through the Government Reform Committee."

President John F. Kennedy authorized the practice of awarding Presidential Medals of Freedom to persons "for especially meritorious contribution to (1) the security or national interests of the United States, or (2) world peace, or (3) cultural or other significant public or private endeavors" (Executive Order 11085 dated February 22, 1963).

Since inception, approximately 400 medals have been given to persons representing a wide variety of disciplines and achievements. His Holiness Pope John XXIII was among the first 31 honorees. President Johnson presented the award posthumously on December 6, 1963. Though other religious leaders have been so honored, no subsequent Pope has been accorded this award. In 2000, Congress awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest award Congress can bestow, on Pope John Paul II.

Contact

U.S. House Judiciary Committee
http://www.house.gov/judiciary/press.htm
DC, US
Jeff Lungren - Communications Director, 202 225-2492

Keywords

Pope John Paul II

Category

Catholic Church

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