On Monday, 7 June , Pope John Paul II received a visit from
the President of the United States, Mr Ronald Reagan, who was
accompanied by his wife Nancy. Other members of the official party were
Secretary of State Alexander
M. Haig, Jr,
and his wife; Mr James A. Baker III, Chief of Staff and Assistant to the
President; Mr Michael K. Deaver, Deputy Chief of Staff and Assistant to
the President, and his wife; Mr William P. Clark, Assistant to the
President for National Security Affairs, and his wife; Mr Edward V.
Hickey, Jr, Assistant to the President and Director of Special Support
Services; Mr William A. Wilson, Personal Representative of the President
to the Holy See, and his wife; Mr Michael A. McManus, Deputy Assistant to
the President and Deputy to the Deputy Chief of Staff; and Mr Robert De
Prospero, Special Assistant to the President.
The following is the text of President Reagan's address.
Your Holiness, Your
Eminences, Your Excellencies, Members of the Clergy, Ladies and Gentlemen.
On behalf of myself, and for
all Americans, I want to express profound appreciation to you, Your
Holiness, and to all of those from the Holy See who made it possible for
us to meet in Vatican City.
This is truly is a city of
peace, love and charity where the highest arid the humblest among us seek
to follow in the footsteps of the Fisherman.
As you know, Your Holiness,
this is my first visit to Europe as President. I would like to think of it
as a pilgrimage for peace: a journey aimed at strengthening the forces for
peace in the free West while offering new opportunities for realistic
negotiations with those who may not share the values of freedom and the
spirit which we cherish.
This is no easy task, but I
leave this audience with a renewed sense of hope and dedication. Hope,
because one cannot meet a man like Your Holiness without feeling that a
world that can produce such courage and vision out of adversity and
oppression is capablewith
building a better future. Dedication, because one cannot enter this
citadel of faith, the fountainhead of so many of the values we in the free
West hold dear, without coming away resolved to do all in one's power to
live up to them.
Certain common experiences we
have shared in our different walks of life, Your Holiness, and the warm
correspondence we have carried on, also gave our meeting a special meaning
for me. I hope that others will follow.
Let me add that all Americans
remember with great warmth your historic visit to our shores in 1979. We
all hope that you will he back again with your timeless message. Ours is a
nation grounded on faith: faith in man's ability, through God-given
freedom, to live in tolerance and. peace, and faith that a supreme being
guides our daily striving in this world. Our national motto, "In God we
trust", reflects that faith.
Many of our earliest settlers
came to America seeking a refuge where they could worship God unhindered.
So our dedication to political and individual freedoms is wedded to
religious freedom as well. Liberty has never meant licence to Americans.
We treasure it precisely because it protects the human and spiritual
values we hold most dear: the right to worship as we choose, the right to
elect democratic leaders, the right to choose the type of education we
want for our children, and freedom from fear, want and oppression. These
are God. given freedoms, not the contrivances of man.
We also believe in helping
one another through our Churches and charitable institutions or simply as
The ten commandments and the
golden rule are as much a part of our living heritage as the Constitution
we take such pride in, and we have triednot
always successfully, but always in good conscienceto
extend those same principles to our role in the world.
We know that God has
blessed America with a freedom and abundance many of our less fortunate
brothers and sisters around the world have been denied. Since the end of
World War II we have done our best to provide assistance to themassistance
amounting to billions of dollars worth of food, medicines and materialsand
we will continue to do so in the years ahead. Americans have always
believed that, in the words of the scripture, "unto whomsoever much is
given, of him shall much be required".
To us, in a troubled
world, the Holy See, and your pastorate represent one of the world's
greatest moral and spiritual forces. We admire your active efforts to
foster peace and promote justice, freedom and compassion in a world that
is still stalked by the forces of evil.
As a people and as a
government, we seek to pursue the same goals of peace, freedom and
humanity along political and economic lines that the Church pursues in its
spiritual role. So we deeply value your counsel and support and express
our solidarity with you.
Your Holiness, one of the
areas of our mutual concern is Latin America. We want to work closely with
the Church in that area to help promote peace, social justice and reform,
and to prevent the spread of repression and godless tyranny. We also share
your concern in seeking peace and justice in troubled areas of the Middle
East such as Lebanon.
Another special area of mutual concern is
the martyred nation of Poland, your own homeland. Through centuries of
adversity, Poland has been a brave bastion of faith and freedomin
the hearts of her courageous people if not in those who rule her.
We seek a process of
reconciliation. and reform that will lead to a new dawn of hope for the
people of Poland and we will continue to call for an end to martial law,
for the freeing of all political. prisoners, and a resumed dialogue among
the Polish Government, the Church, and the Solidarity movement which
speaks for the vast majority of Poles.
While denying financial
assistance to the oppressive Polish regime, America will continue to
provide the Polish people with as much food and commodity support as
possible through Church and private organizations.
Today, Your Holiness, marks
the beginning of the U.N. special session on disarmament. We pledge to do
everything possible in these discussionsas
in our individual initiatives for peace and arms reductionsto
help bring a real, lasting peace throughout the world. To us, this is
nothing less than it sacred trust.
Dante has written that "the
infinite goodness has such wide arms that it takes whatever turns to it".
We ask your prayers, Holy Father, that God will guide us in our efforts
this journey and in the years aheadand
that the wide arms of faith and forgiveness can someday embrace a world at
peace, with justice and compassion for all mankind.