Declaration by Jacques Chirac, in memory of Pope John Paul II

Declaration by Jacques Chirac, President of the Republic, in memory of Pope John Paul II.

Paris, April 3, 2005

Pope John Paul II has just died, and I want to express France’s tribute to the man who carried fervently, with conviction and courage a message of hope for all the world’s peoples.

His death affects France for whom John Paul II displayed special affection. He made many pastoral visits to our country. Everyone remembers the World Youth Days during which he brought together, in Paris, hundreds of thousands of young people in 1997.

John Paul II’s message of trust and tireless efforts contributed to changing the course of history.

He was the indefatigable pilgrim of dialogue, reconciliation and peace.

Throughout the world, there is immense sadness. France shares this sadness.

Our country, inspired by the universal principles of liberty, equality and fraternity, has waged many common battles with John Paul II for peace, democracy, the fight against poverty and also for the affirmation of Europe’s unity. This Europe to which he devoted so many efforts that it might overcome its divisions, free itself from the Soviet yoke and at last, peacefully, find its way back to the paths of freedom.

John Paul II always refused to accept the inevitability of the clash of civilizations. Everywhere he called for a trustful and respectful dialogue between peoples, cultures and religions.

Through his courage and determination, he touched hearts and minds by striving to satisfy the thirst for justice and quest for meaning expressed everywhere in the world.

Mankind has lost an inspired pastor, a tireless defender of human dignity. John Paul II constantly showed every people, every human being, the path of concord and solidarity. He will be lastingly remembered by everyone, Christians and non-Christians.

Today, as he enters history, I wanted to pay him this tribute./.

Last modified on 20/04/2005

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