Cardinal Donald Wuerl will be among a number of faith leaders on hand at the White House today, offering a prayer as part of the National Day of Prayer. During that event, President Donald Trump is expected to announce the creation of a new office for faith-based initiatives, restoring programs that existed under his two predecessors but that have largely languished under Mr. Trump.
The event comes just a day after the president’s lawyer acknowledged on national television that Mr. Trump used his own money to buy the silence of an adult film actress over a sexual encounter.
News of the executive order was first reported by Religion News Service.
Cardinal Donald Wuerl will be among a number of faith leaders on hand.
Mr. Trump is scheduled to sign an executive order on Thursday, “to ensure that the faith-based and community organizations that form the bedrock of our society have strong advocates in the White House and throughout the Federal Government,” a White House document reads.
The White House said those working on the initiative will provide policy recommendations from faith-based and community programs on “more effective solutions to poverty,” and inform the administration of “any failures of the executive branch to comply with religious liberty protections under law.”
This will not be the first time Cardinal Wuerl has been at the White House for a signing ceremony. He was there last year when Mr. Trump signed an executive order that the White House said was meant to protect religious liberty, though critics said at the time it was a toothless order. The cardinal was joined then by the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, and members of the Little Sisters of the Poor, a group of Catholic sisters who were engaged in a years-long legal battle with the Obama administration over the so-called contraception mandate.
Mr. Trump’s creation of the White House Faith and Opportunity Initiative follows the initiatives of previous administrations that created similarly named offices to foster partnerships between the government and religious organizations.
President Obama launched the Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, whose work ranged from fighting the Ebola and Zika viruses to feeding school children nutritious meals in the summertime.
That office, along with similar ones in 13 federal agencies, followed President George W. Bush’s Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. The White House said agencies and executive departments that do not have such offices will have a designated liaison to the new initiative.
Material from Religion News Service was used in this report.