Remarks by President Bush in Presentation of Medal of Freedom to His Holiness Pope John Paul II

Jun 04, 2004, 01:00 ET from White House Press Office

    WASHINGTON, June 4 /PRNewswire/ -- The following are remarks by President
 Bush in presentation of Medal of Freedom to His Holiness Pope John Paul II:
     The Vatican
     12:58 P.M. (Local)
     THE PRESIDENT:  Your Holiness, thank you very much for receiving Laura and
 me, and our delegation.  I bring greetings from our country, where you are
 respected, admired and greatly loved.
     I also bring a message from my government that says to you, sir, we will
 work for human liberty and human dignity, in order to spread peace and
 compassion; that we appreciate the strong symbol of freedom that you have
 stood for, and we recognize the power of freedom to change societies and to
 change the world.
     And so, sir, we're honored to be here.  Perhaps the best way I can express
 my country's gratitude to you, and our respect to you, is to present to you
 the Medal of Freedom from America.  And if you might allow, I'd like to read
 the citation attached to that honor:
     "A devoted servant of God, His Holiness Pope John Paul II has championed
 the cause of the poor, the weak, the hungry, and the outcast.  He has defended
 the unique dignity of every life, and the goodness of all life.  Through his
 faith and moral conviction, he has given courage to others to be not afraid in
 overcoming injustice and oppression.  His principled stand for peace and
 freedom has inspired millions and helped to topple communism and tyranny.  The
 United States honors this son of Poland who became the Bishop of Rome and a
 hero of our time."
     And so, on behalf of the American people, Your Holiness, I would be
 honored if you would accept our Medal of Freedom.
     (The Medal of Freedom is presented.)  (Applause.)
     HIS HOLINESS POPE JOHN PAUL II:  I am very grateful, Mr. President, for
 this thoughtful gesture.  May the desire for freedom, peace, a more humane
 world symbolized by this medal inspire men and women of goodwill in every time
 and place.
     God bless America.  (Applause.)
     END           1:00 P.M. (Local)

SOURCE White House Press Office