This week marks the 20th anniversary of Pope John Paul II's pastoral visit to America in 1987. During his visit he travelled for 11 days in whirlwind stops to Detroit, New Orleans, San Antonio, Columbia, Los Angeles, Miami, Monterey, CA, San Francisco, and Phoenix.
John Paul II always spoke prophetically when he visited other countries and this trip was no exception. Of particular note is farewell address
prior to his departure at the Detroit airport.
Some of the excerpts:America, your deepest identity and truest character as a nation is revealed in the position you take towards the human person. The ultimate test of your greatness in the way you treat every human being, but especially the weakest and most defenceless ones.
The best traditions of your land presume respect for those who cannot defend themselves. If you want equal justice for all, and true freedom and lasting peace, then, America, defend life! All the great causes that are yours today will have meaning only to the extent that you guarantee the right to life and protect the human person:
- feeding the poor and welcoming refugees;
- reinforcing the social fabric of this nation;
- promoting the true advancement of women;
- securing the rights of minorities;
- pursuing disarmament, while guaranteeing legitimate defence;
all this will succeed only if respect for life and its protection by the law is granted to every human being from conception until natural death.
Every human person - no matter how vulnerable or helpless, no matter how young or how old, no matter how healthy, handicapped or sick, no matter how useful or productive for society - is a being of inestimable worth created in the image and likeness of God. This is the dignity of America, the reason she exists, the condition for her survival-yes, the ultimate test of her greatness: to respect every human person, especially the weakest and most defenceless ones, those as yet unborn
The Archdiocese of Detroit has neatly put all of his talks while in Detroit in Podcast form on their web site
and I encourage you to download them and listen as you can.Full details about his visit to Detrit.
Labels: Pope John II