"A gracious and humble man who lived a life of service to others, President George H.W. Bush is remembered as a man of character, a husband and father who did his best to bring about a kinder and gentler nation. He guided our country during difficult times with grace, dignity and courage," Bishop Nelson Perez of Cleveland said Dec. 1.
Bishop Robert Deeley of Portland, Maine, also extended his prayerful sympathy to the Bush family.
"He will be remembered for his integrity. A man of faith and humility, may he be at peace with the Lord he served in life," Deeley said.
His presidency from 1988 to 1992 oversaw the fall of the Soviet Union. In Bush's last State of the Union Address in 1992, he said, "By the grace of God, America won the Cold War."
Later that year, the president went on to say, "Saint Ignatius said, 'Work as though all depended upon yourself, and pray as though all depended on God.' The practice of that motto conquered communism. Ceaseless prayer and tireless work halted the cold war and spared us from the catastrophe of a third world war. Believers behind the Iron Curtain defied persecution; believers in the West defied indifference."
Bush met with Pope Saint John Paul II in Rome twice during his presidency. Though the two leaders disagreed over the U.S. military intervention in the Gulf War, Bush described his last presidential meeting with John Paul II as "major tour d'horizon, touching on all the trouble spots" in the world.
When Bush first entered politics as a Republican Congressman, he supported funding for Planned Parenthood, however he went on to be an effective pro-life president. Bush used his power of veto to stop 10 bills with pro-abortion provisions, according to the National Right to Life Committee.
"President George H.W. Bush dedicated his administration to advancing pro-life policies to protect mothers and their unborn children," National Right to Life President Carol Tobias said Dec. 1. "He used his presidency to stop enactment of pro-abortion laws and promote life-affirming solutions."
Bush's funeral will be held at Washington's National Cathedral on Wednesday, Dec. 5 with President Donald Trump and his wife in attendance.
Courtney Mares is a Rome Correspondent for Catholic News Agency. A graduate of Harvard University, she has reported from news bureaus on three continents and was awarded the Gardner Fellowship for her work with North Korean refugees.