(Washington, DC) - The following remarks were given by Representative Chris Smith (NJ-4) on the floor of the House of Representatives today regarding the recent passing of John Cardinal O'Connor:

"Mr. Speaker, Cardinal O'Connor of New York, a man after God's own heart and one of the greatest and most consistent moral and spiritual leaders of the 20th century, has passed away. 

Cardinal O'Connor loved unconditionally and gave generously, expecting nothing in return. He proclaimed and demonstrated by his words, works, and actions the indescribable blessings of the Gospel. Cardinal O'Connor was a good and holy priest who radiated Christ and the healing power of God to believers and non-believers alike.

Over the years, there were some who mocked and rejected Cardinal O'Connor's clear Christian teaching on the sanctity of all human life and the duty of all men and women of goodwill, especially politicians, to protect the vulnerable from the violence of abortion. Yet he always treated the opponents of his message with respect and dignity.

Mr. Speaker, in the 25th Chapter of Matthew's Gospel, Jesus spoke of the last judgement and those, like Cardinal O'Connor, who would be blessed in eternity. Jesus said, "For I was hungry and you gave me food; I was thirsty and you gave me drink; I was a stranger and you took me in; I was naked and you clothed me, I was in prison and you came to me.' And then the righteous will answer Him, saying 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and take you in, or naked and clothe you?
Or when did we see you sick, or in prison, and come to you? 

And the Lord will answer and say to them, 'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to the least of my brethren, you did it to Me.'"

Mr. Speaker, Cardinal O'Connor devoted his life and inspired countless others to do the same to help the least, the disenfranchised, and the unwanted seeing Christ himself in the lives that nobody else cared about or wanted. Earth's loss of Cardinal O'Connor is heaven's gain."