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President Kennedy Pays Tribute to Pope

June 3, 1963 - President Kennedy paid high tribute today to the statesmanship and moral leadership of Pope John XXIII (pictured with Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy last year). The President said of the Pontiff: “His compassion and kindly strength have bequeathed humanity a new legacy of purpose and courage for the future.” Mr. Kennedy led official Washington in mourning the passing of Pope John as a great loss to mankind. Members of both houses of Congress and churchmen of various faiths joined in expressing the belief that the Pontiff had made an immense contribution to the reconciliation of all Christian faiths, to the reconciliation of his church with Judaism, and to the preservation of peace. President Kennedy said the Pope had “brought compassion and understanding drawn from wide experience to the most divisive problems of a tumultuous age.” Secretary of State Dean Rusk sent a personal message to Amleto Cardinal Cicognani, the Vatican Secretary of State. Vice President Johnson observed that Pope John “displayed the humor and deep compassion so vital and necessary in this age as we search for peace.”

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