Chirac hails Pope as 'pilgrim of peace'

3rd April 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, April 3 (AFP) - President Jacques Chirac offered France's homage to the late Pope John Paul II Sunday, describing him as an "untiring pilgrim for dialogue, reconciliation and peace."

PARIS, April 3 (AFP) - President Jacques Chirac offered France's homage to the late Pope John Paul II Sunday, describing him as an "untiring pilgrim for dialogue, reconciliation and peace."

"As Pope John Paul II has just died, I wish to express France's homage to a man who carried with incomparable fervour, conviction and courage a message of hope for all the peoples of the world," the president said in a statement.

"The message of faith and unflagging action helped change the course of history," he said.

The president said the pope's death would be felt strongly in France - "a country for which John Paul II showed particular affection."

"He made numerous pastoral visits here. Everyone of us can remember the World Youth Days in 1997 when he brought together hundreds and hundreds of young people here in Paris," Chirac said.

John Paul II "dedicated so much effort ... so that Europe could overcome its divisions, free itself from the Soviet yoke and at last find, peacefully, the paths of freedom," Chirac said.

"Humanity loses an inspired pastor, an unflagging defender of the dignity of man. He will leave behind a deep imprint on the memory of all - Christians and non-Christians alike," he said.

Chirac and his wife Bernadette were to attend a special mass later Sunday at Notre Dame cathedral in Paris.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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