I found this in my email. I regularly get messages from the White House Office of Public Liason. This surprised me a little. Also, HERE
Presidential Message in Commemoration of the 40th Anniversary of Pope John Paul II’s First Pilgrimage to Poland
On this day, we commemorate the 40th anniversary of St. Pope John Paul II’s historic celebration of the Mass on June 2, 1979, in Warsaw, the opening of a nine-day visit to Poland that changed the course of history. As we remember the long struggle of the Polish people against communism, we also acknowledge that millions of people now live in freedom because of St. Pope John Paul II and his extraordinary life as a follower of Jesus Christ and a champion for human dignity and religious liberty.
In his homily forty years ago, St. Pope John Paul II delivered a powerful message of hope to the crowd gathered in Warsaw, to all of Poland, and to the world. His words stood tall against the repressive forces of communism throughout Poland and the rest of Europe. He inspired courage in the hearts of millions of men and women to seek a better, freer life.
Today, we celebrate this historic moment and reaffirm our commitment to ensuring that freedom always prevails. The United States and our allies stand united against the shackles of communism and as a beacon of liberty and prosperity throughout the world.
Melania joins me in remembering St. Pope John Paul II, whose poignant address stirred the soul of the Polish people and eventually helped tear down the Iron Curtain of communism in Europe. May we continue to be strengthened by his words and his call to God’s abundant compassion, strength, and glory.
I sometimes find myself thinking of our president as a sort-of modern-day Constantine. Sometimes, so close to what we want and need, others, brash and difficult to take, but closer to the Faith than we’ve had, in some ways, really, ever. May he convert soon, also. I pray for that daily.
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A real turning point in history, for those who can see it, along with Margaret Thatcher’s election just 2 months earlier, and Reagan’s just over a year later. And 10 years later the whole rotten structure collapsed.
Thank you, St. JP II, RRR, MT… and DT for reminding us that the price of freedom is eternal vigilance. And preparedness. Not to mention basic intelligence.
I had not converted to Catholicism yet when St. John Paul II went to Poland. But I was glued to the TV nonetheless. From the time of his election, there was no doubt that St. JPII would make a significant impact on the world and the Church. My husband is Polish — second generation American — and he and his family were instrumental in my conversion, as was St. JPII. That a non-Catholic US President would acknowledge the importance and significance of this event shows a true understanding of the role that faith plays (or should play), in creating a world that values all life and the freedoms that are inherent in that belief.
Fr. Rutler has a July 2017 article in Crisis magazine about Pres. Trump’s Warsaw speech.
jaykay: Good point about St. John Paul II, Margaret Thatcher, and Ronald Reagan. Catholics such as Bill Casey, William Clark, and even at times Fr. Richard John Neuhaus served them well.
These men and women did not merely rule, they led. They were inspired by God, freedom, and common sense. The deficiencies of tub-thumping manifestos infused with warmed-over dorm-room sloganeering were obvious to them.
Nor did they try to motivate their subordinates and fellow citizens with trite phrases such as “I’m tired of A so we’re going to do B” or “I’m fed up with C so let’s try D.” They were not interested in advancing paternalism by wielding vacuous phrases and squabbling over imprecise labels.
True, the advance of rightly-ordered liberty is marked by setbacks, bad days, disputes among allies, mistakes, and sometimes plain old flailing around out of frustration and anxiety. Hey, it happens. There are serious problems these days, particularly with disordered schools and pop culture.
That said, in 2019 these principles apply as they did in 1980: patriotism rather than tribalism, freedom rather than totalitarianism, leadership rather than agitation, critique of an ally rather than their immolation, evangelization rather than a Calvinist-style theocracy, appropriately regulated free-market rather than central planning, and virtue rather than cruelty.
If the project towards a hybrid of atheistic socialism, religious authoritarianism, and contempt for the Founding Fathers succeeds, one of its practical consequences will be the military, intelligence services, and security forces owing allegiance not to God and the Constitution, but to an individual, a central committee, or various cabals. That, too, is a problem.
Semper Gumby: beautifully expressed, far better than I could have done: thank you.
I think we, as in Western Civilisation, dodged a bullet between the years 1978 to (late) 1980, with the respective elections of John Paul II, Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan. You only have to look back at the opposition to them, how pathetic those pygmies look in true historical retrospect. Who doesn’t remember the overweening self-importance and self-regard of the “opposition”, their shrieking horror at RR’s description of the Evil Empire? The evil-smelling harridans of Greenham Common decrying deployment of Cruise Missiles? The howls of dismay about “aggression” against “innocent” Argentina in 1982 (bit of a touchy one that… say no more, Squire, nudge nudge, wink wink)? And, almost 40 years later, it still goes on. Yet another brainwashed generation doing exactly what they’ve been told to think. Come and see the oppression inherent in the system. Oooh, my brain hurts.
jaykay: Thanks. You make a good point about dodging a bullet with St. John Paul II, Margaret Thatcher, and Ronald Reagan.
In 1971 Soviet Premier Brezhnev stated to the Politburo:
“We communists have to string along with the capitalists for a while. We need their credits, their agriculture, and their technology. But we are going to continue massive military programs and by the middle 1980s we will be in a position to return to a much more aggressive foreign policy designed to gain the upper hand in our relationship with the West.”
About the time Brezhnev spoke, the Soviets established within the KGB “Line X” to steal Western technology.
And at about the same time in Warsaw a Catholic named Ryszard Kuklinski, a Polish colonel and aide to the Defense Minister, began passing Communist military secrets to the West, including plans to attack the West.
In June 1979 St. John Paul II returned to Poland, his pilgrimage is also known as “The Nine Days that Changed the World.” His pilgrimage inspired in the summer of 1980 Lech Walesa’s Solidarity opposition movement.
As the summer of 1980 went on, Solidarity organized strikes at the Baltic ports, soon followed by the coal mines. The Poles demanded freedom of religion and speech, also the release of political prisoners. Poland’s Communist government soon agreed to most of these demands.
However, Brezhnev cautioned Poland’s Communist government, which soon revoked their agreement with Solidarity. Unrest and anti-Communist sentiment increased during 1981.
Reagan was sworn in January 1981, and soon an alliance formed between Reagan and John Paul in support of Solidarity. Bill Casey, a staunch Catholic and anti-Communist, pursued various projects in support of Solidarity with enthusiasm.
As 1981 continued Col. Kuklinski began passing information to the West that detailed Soviet preparations for invading Poland. Warnings were issued by the West to the Kremlin.
The Soviets decided not to invade Poland. In December 1981 Poland’s Communist government invaded itself, sending its army and security forces from the barracks to the streets and into homes. Reagan decided that this “Soviet-backed action must not stand.” The Polish opposition would be supported. Other measures would be taken.
Well, that covered alot of ground quickly about what happened after St. John Paul II’s pilgrimage to Poland. Needless to say, the Cold War reached new heights during the 1980s in Poland and around the globe. Reagan abandoned the “containment” strategy and pursued victory. (See NSDD-32 from 1982 and NSDD-75 from 1983, two declassified documents available online).
In 1989 after eight years of undermining the Communist government Solidarity won the right to free elections. In June 1989 Solidarity won 99% of the seats, and Lech Walesa became President. Later that year the Berlin Wall fell. On Christmas Day 1991 Gorbachev resigned and the Soviet Union effectively ceased to exist.
A few books on all this are John O’Sullivan “The President, the Pope, and the Prime Minister”, Paul Kengor “God and Ronald Reagan”, George Weigel’s books on St. John Paul II, and Peter Schweizer’s books.
Ah yes, Col. Kuklinski. He and his family were evacuated from Poland by Western intelligence in December 1981 just before the Communist Polish government invaded Poland. After the Cold War the Polish government revoked his Communist-era death sentence. Kuklinski died in 2004 in Tampa, Florida. Polish President Duda posthumously promoted Col. Kuklinski to Brigadier General. He is buried in a military cemetery in Warsaw.