Chirac Sees Common Ground for France and Church

During Ceremony to Welcome the Pope

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share this Entry

LOURDES, France, AUG. 16, 2004 ( When greeting John Paul II over the weekend, President Jacques Chirac said that France and the Holy See are united in a struggle for a world «that puts people first.»

The Pope arrived Saturday morning at the Tarbes-Lourdes airport for his pilgrimage to Lourdes. Chirac and representatives of the Church in France were on hand to greet the Holy Father.

«I thank the Lord for allowing me to return once again to this beloved land of France and to greet all of you with a heartfelt message of grace and peace,» John Paul II said, when stepping for the seventh time on French soil.

His visit was intended to help celebrate the 150th anniversary of the proclamation of the dogma of Mary’s immaculate conception.

Recalling that France was commemorating the 60th anniversary of the «landing in Provence,» during World War II, the Pope appealed for «harmony between peoples» and «a renewed commitment to the pursuit of peace on the part of all.»

The Holy Father, who in recent months has asked for the recognition of the Christian roots of Europe in the continent’s Constitutional Treaty, highlighted «the great patrimony of culture and faith» with which Christianity has marked the history of France, in particular with her «great saints,» «outstanding masters of Christian thought,» «schools of spirituality,» and «many missionaries.»

«With respect for the responsibilities and competences of all, the Catholic Church desires to offer society a specific contribution toward the building of a world in which the great ideals of liberty, equality and fraternity can form the basis of social life, in the tireless pursuit and promotion of the common good,» John Paul II said.

For his part, in his welcome address to the Pope, President Chirac said that «France and the Holy See are united in this struggle for a world that puts people first at all times.»

«We are driven by the ideal of humanity united by universal values and capable by that same token of respecting and celebrating the diversity of its histories and its cultures; humanity all the more assured in its quest for knowledge and progress since it abides by the ethics of responsibility and the requisites of solidarity,» the French president emphasized.

Chirac described the Pope as an «indefatigable pilgrim» who «embodies courageousness and spirit, and this strength that has made you, Most Holy Father, a universal shepherd and a man of peace.»

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share this Entry


Support ZENIT

If you liked this article, support ZENIT now with a donation