The 2005 West Wing meeting was just one indicator of how a Methodist president has surrounded himself with Roman Catholic intellectuals, speechwriters, professors, priests, bishops and politicians. These Catholics — and thus Catholic social teaching — have for the past eight years been shaping Bush's speeches, policies and legacy to a degree perhaps unprecedented in U.S. history.
In fact, with all due respect to John F. Kennedy, the nation's first and only Catholic president, some have begun to call the Bush White House the first truly Catholic presidency.
Bush has placed Catholics in prominent roles in the federal government and relied on Catholic tradition to make a public case for everything from the faith-based initiative to anti-abortion legislation. He has wedded Catholic intellectualism with evangelical political savvy to forge a powerful electoral coalition.