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Ambassador Anne Patterson: In Tribute to the Pope

In Tribute to the Pope

Ambassador Anne W. Patterson, Acting U.S. Representative to the United
Remarks in Tribute to Pope John Paul II, in the General Assembly
New York City
April 6, 2005

Mr. President, Madame Deputy Secretary-General,

The American people have a special place in their hearts for His Holiness Pope John Paul II. He came to the U.S. seven times, visiting cities as far from each other as New York and Anchorage, and many points in between. During his travels he won the respect and admiration of Americans of all backgrounds. He did the same in his trips to most of the countries represented in the United Nations, inspiring the devotion of persons of good faith throughout the world and, in the process, becoming a force for good everywhere he traveled.

We should not forget that Pope John Paul II contributed enormously to international peace and reconciliation. His diplomatic efforts had a direct impact on the Cold War and helped bring it to an end. This, in turn, gave new vigor to the United Nations.

Perhaps more important than John Paul II's actions on the world stage was the profound effect he had on individuals. He inspired and encouraged persons of all nations, races and religions to be more sensitive to human diversity and to the need for tolerance and mutual respect. As a man who was seen in person by more people than any other figure in history, his message extolling the dignity of each individual has had incalculable impact. He inspired us to believe that the diversity of our great human family is based on the inherent dignity of each human being, and enriches us all.

I would like to recall that in 1995, Pope John Paul II came to this building and spoke on issues of universal concern, issues that are the very reason this organization exists. He noted that "Men and women throughout the world, even when threatened by violence, have taken the risk of freedom, asking to be given a place in social, political, and economic life which is commensurate with their dignity as free human beings." During his papacy the Church played a key role in bringing together warring parties to achieve reconciliation. These efforts have brought peace and healing to areas plagued by fear and repression, and have allowed many who had known only strife to enjoy the fruits of freedom.

Mr. President,

His Holiness Pope John Paul the Second's life and legacy challenge us to seek peace and promote freedom throughout the world. His example should be our guide in seeking truth and understanding, in serving others, and in working to restore hope and dignity to all.

In closing, I would like to extend to our colleagues from the Observer Mission of the Holy See, those of Poland's UN Mission, and indeed to all those who look to Pope John Paul II as a spiritual guide and, in his own words, a pilgrim of love, of truth and of hope, my government's deepest sympathy.

As President Bush said shortly after the Pontiff's passing, "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 are grateful to God for sending such a man, a son of Poland, who became the Bishop of Rome, and a hero for the ages." Thank you, Mr. President.

Released on April 8, 2005


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