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Remarks Following Discussions With Pope John Paul II in Denver

August 12, 1993

Good afternoon. It was a great pleasure and a great honor for me to be able to spend some time with the Holy Father. We had a cordial and productive meeting, and I believe we laid the basis for a productive and constructive relationship in the future.

We shared many values and perspectives: a commitment to today's young people in the United States and throughout the world; a belief in work and family and the importance of pursuing policies that support them; a commitment to correcting the social problems that give rise to so many problems for our people in this country, violence, drugs, and other things; and a recognition that we need in this Nation and throughout the world both more individual responsibility and more community action.

We talked about a wide range of international problems. We discussed Bosnia at length, as you might imagine. We talked about the peacekeeping mission in Somalia. We talked about the efforts of nations working together through the United Nations to reduce violence and support human rights and democracy throughout the world, in Cambodia, for example, and other places. We talked about the former Soviet Union and conditions in many countries. We talked about the Holy Father's native Poland and the progress that they are making there. We talked about Haiti and what the United States has tried to do there to restore democracy and freedom.

And throughout, I, like every other person who has ever met him, was profoundly impressed by the depth of His Holiness' conviction, the depth of his faith, and the depth of his commitment to continue on his mission.

I very much welcome the Vatican's commitment to human rights, including religious freedom for all. I welcome the progress that is being made in forging relationships and closer ties between the Vatican and Israel. That can only help as we seek to pursue peace in the Middle East.

We both are worried about the conditions in Somalia, the Sudan, Haiti, and Bosnia. We both are concerned about the problems that have always been with us, but we believe that we can make progress in dealing with them.

Finally, let me just say once again how very grateful I am to the Holy Father for coming to World Youth Day here in Denver and for the Catholic Church's decision to bring World Youth Day to the United States and to Denver. It is my hope that the success of this extraordinary gathering of young people will create a greater spirit of unity and community among them and renewed commitment among those who are Americans to work for greater justice and opportunity here at home.

At the end of our meeting the Holy Father presented me with a Bible. And so, I close with a verse from it that I think characterizes his work and I hope in due time will characterize the work that we are doing here, the exhortation in St. Paul's letter to the Galatians, "Let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart."

Thank you, Your Holiness, for your heart and your efforts.

NOTE: The President spoke at 5:20 p.m. at Regis University.

William J. Clinton, Remarks Following Discussions With Pope John Paul II in Denver Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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