Bush Urged to Honor Pope John Paul II : Presidential Medal of Freedom


October 30, 2003

House Judiciary Committee Chairman F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr. (R-Wis.) has introduced a bipartisan resolution urging President George W. Bush to give the U.S. government's highest civilian award - the Presidential Medal of Freedom - to Pope John Paul II. Sensenbrenner said the pope should be honored for his significant, enduring, and historic contributions to the causes of freedom, human dignity, and peace. "There is perhaps no other individual who is more deserving of this recognition than Pope John Paul II," Sensenbrenner said in a press release. "Americans appreciate the courage, convictions, and commitment to freedom that the Pope has demonstrated throughout his lifetime. I hope that President George W. Bush will agree that it is appropriate to present the Medal of Freedom to His Holiness as a sign of our gratitude." Since President John F. Kennedy signed an Executive Order authorizing Presidential Medals of Freedom in 1963, some 400 medals have gone to people from all walks of life. Pope John XXIII was among the first 31 honorees.