(This article first appeared at CatholicNewsHerald.com)
BELMONT — Leonard Leo, executive vice president of the Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy, has been named the second recipient of the Benedict Leadership Award. The award, given by the Benedict Leadership Institute at Belmont Abbey College, was presented March 22 at Belmont Abbey College.
The Institute selected Leo for his dedication to the defense of religious liberty both in the United States and abroad and for his personal witness to the sanctity of human life.
Leo was appointed by President George W. Bush to three terms to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom as chairman, during which time he traveled to Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Sudan and Vietnam to assess country conditions on religious freedom.
“While your life displays numerous reasons for being worthy of the Benedict Leadership Award, the committee wished to honor and highlight your leadership in a few areas in particular: your defense of religious liberty and your personal witness to the sanctity of life,” wrote the Benedict Leadership Institute’s executive director, Conor Gallagher, in his selection letter to Leo.
“These are areas of great concern to Belmont Abbey College. It is our hope that your award will bring attention to those persecuted for their religious beliefs and to the dignity of all people, especially the disabled and the unborn.”
The Benedict Leadership Institute was founded in 2016 to develop and inspire Catholic leaders to transform society in light of their faith. The Benedict Leadership Award, given annually to recognize outstanding men and women whose achievements reflect the heroic leadership of St. Benedict, is a key activity of the institute.
Recipients deliver a public address in their area of leadership, and are presented with a $10,000 cash award.
— Sarah McPeek, Benedict Leadership Institute