PRESIDENT: Laura and I join people across the Earth in mourning the
passing of Pope John Paul II. The Catholic Church has lost its shepherd,
the world has lost a champion of human freedom, and a good and faithful
servant of God has been called home.
Pope John Paul II left the throne of St. Peter in the same way he
ascended to it -- as a witness to the dignity of human life. In his
native Poland, that witness launched a democratic revolution that swept
Eastern Europe and changed the course of history. Throughout the West,
John Paul's witness reminded us of our obligation to build a culture of
life in which the strong protect the weak. And during the Pope's final
years, his witness was made even more powerful by his daily courage in
the face of illness and great suffering.
All Popes belong to the world, but Americans had special reason to love
the man from Krakow. In his visits to our country, the Pope spoke of our
"providential" Constitution, the self-evident truths about human dignity
in our Declaration, and the "blessings of liberty" that follow from
them. It is these truths, he said, that have led people all over the
world to look to America with hope and respect.
Pope John Paul II was, himself, an inspiration to millions of
Americans, and to so many more throughout the world. We will always
remember the humble, wise and fearless priest who became one of
history's great moral leaders. We're grateful to God for sending such a
man, a son of Poland, who became the Bishop of Rome, and a hero for the