Hayeon Kim| OCT 6 1970
The White House welcomed today His Holiness Pope John Paul II. They discussed civil rights issued brought about by the world’s current events, not as diplomats, but as fellow brothers in Christ wanting to improve the well-being of the average person. The Pope’s tour has attracted various large crowds in his six visits, cumulating to his visit to President Carter. Pope John Paul II arrived as a “messenger of brotherhood and peace.” Around 40,000 individuals came together to see the Pope hold a Mass for 1,000 priest prior to his White House visit, at St. Matthew’s Cathedral in Washington. Upon his arrival, the Pope was greeted by 7,000 government officials and church dignitaries.
Why is Jimmy Carter the first president to invite a Pope in to the White House? President Carter intended for the meeting between him and the Pope to be filled with enlightening conversations that will develop his domestic policies. Privately, they discussed the situations around the world concerning peace and justice and brought to attention the ways to bring about peace, freedom, and justice. The Pope and President were on equal grounds in their beliefs about the need for human rights and the respect for the dignity of other individuals. In fact, this notion is the foundation of both the President’s domestic and international policies. The two major figures shaping our nation and world today also highly support international covenants on human rights for the global audience, which they agree must carryout out its concern and resources to combat violation of human rights in the context of political refugees, world hunger, and protection of rights. Cardinal Baum described how President Jimmy Carter, a religious man, welcomed the pope to the White House with great respect. He added how he was greatly moved to see the immense crowd of 175,000 people gathered for the pope’s Mass on the National Mall.
An increased emphasis on humanitarian efforts is inevitable, especially following today’s visit by the Pope. Sharing the belief that respect for human rights and the dignity of the individual must be the cornerstone of the domestic and international policies of nations, the Pope and the President underlined their support for international covenants on human rights and for international organizations and entities which serve the cause of human rights. They agreed that the international community must mobilize its concern and resources to deal with the problems of refugees, to protect human rights, and to prevent hunger and famine.
The President and the Pope also discussed recent developments in southern Africa, Asia, and Latin America. The President noted that the United States seeks conditions of stability, prosperity, and peace in all these areas in the belief that these will promote human rights. The President emphasized that the international community, and especially the industrial nations, must undertake a greater effort to assist less developed countries to achieve a better way of life for their peoples. The Pope and the President agreed that efforts to advance human rights constitute the compelling idea of our times.
The two agreed not to speak as diplomats, but as Christian brothers. During the meeting, Carter scribbled down a few notes that indicate their discussion topics ranged from Middle Eastern affairs in Jerusalem to the rapidly expanding Protestantism occurring in South Korea. Later that day, the White House issued a statement declaring, “The Pope and the President agreed that efforts to advance human rights constitute the compelling idea of our times.