Herbert Hoover photo

Remarks on the Unveiling of a Memorial Statue of James Cardinal Gibbons

August 14, 1932

During the Great War and afterwards I came often into personal association with Cardinal Gibbons in the organization of relief work for the destitute of Europe and in the development of our own Government war agencies after we joined in the conflict. I came to know him, not only as a great leader in his faith but also as a man devoted to the widest of humanities and an American of burning patriotism. I can therefore join this ceremony not alone in my official capacity accepting this memorial which will beautify the city of Washington, but in appreciation of him as a man and as a citizen.

In his lifetime Cardinal Gibbons won the personal affection of thousands of Americans of every race .and of every creed. Millions more, who knew him only through his writings and his public career, shared in this affectionate regard. He stood upon a gentle eminence. He was by every instinct a man of the people, yet he was always distinguished in any gathering for the radiant sweetness of his spirit and the kindliness of his wisdom.

Cardinal Gibbons carried his religion into the daily toil and complexities of life. He bore an active part in all the public concerns of his place and time. Movements for social betterment found in him an unfailing friend and practical counsellor. He championed the cause of labor in moments of crisis. His interest in the welfare of the Negro race found practical expression in the institute erected by him at Ridge, Maryland, for their instruction in the practical arts.

Cardinal Gibbons truly loved human beings--as he found them, in all their variety and with all their imperfections. He loved God, and to a degree that is seldom equalled he succeeded in carrying into the minds of other people the feeling that the truths of religion are really their primary aids in solving the perplexities of everyday living.

Above all, the impression he made upon the country was of the power that gentleness, kindliness, and homely wisdom can have, not only to shape one's personal life, but also to influence the larger affairs of the community and the Nation.

It is of special interest to observe that practically his whole active life was lived in his native city of Baltimore. From this one place as its center, his effect upon his fellowmen spread to the remotest parts of the United States. His life was a remarkable demonstration of the power of a quietly noble personality to expand its influence to other people far beyond the range of his physical presence.

Conciliation was implicit in his philosophy of life, and was the method in his public acts. It was far more effective than violence of thought or action. Both reason and reasonableness were his building tools.

Cardinal Gibbons was always proud of his American birth and of his American citizenship. He was a patriot, proud of his country, zealous in his support of its democratic institutions. I am glad to accept upon behalf of the Government this commemoration of the life of a great citizen.

Note: The President spoke during ceremonies at 16th and Park Road, NW., Washington, D.C. His remarks were carried over the National Broadcasting Company radio network.

Herbert Hoover, Remarks on the Unveiling of a Memorial Statue of James Cardinal Gibbons Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/207388

Filed Under



Washington, DC

Simple Search of Our Archives