Following is the text of President Carter's remarks welcoming Pope John Paul II at the White House yesterday:
Members of Congress, members of the Supreme Court, members of the Cabinet, ladies and gentlemen:
Niech bedzie Bog pochwalony! Which for those of you who may not speak Polish, means "May God be praised!"
This is a day for praising God. On behalf of every American of every faith -- I am pleased and honored to welcome you, Pope John Paul, to the capital city of the United States of America. Welcome!
In our souls there is a special feeling which we might call "solemn joy." This historic day brings forth such a feeling as we mark another milestone in the long intertwined history of our country and its faith in God.
But the moment is also historic because the currents that flow below this brief ceremony reach into the very depths of individual lives and even to the breadth of relationships among sovereign nations.
You've moved among us as a champion of dignity and decency for every human being, and as a pilgrim for peace among nations. You've offered us your love and we as individuals are heartened by it. You can be sure, Pope John Paul, that the people of America return your love.
As you traveled our city streets and our country roads, you've met and touched the vast and rich diversity of America. We cherish our independence of religious thought and our tradition of the separation of church and state, but we are all grateful that we can stand together upon the common ground of shared beliefs.
Sustained by a broad base of mutual understanding, we must seize four unique opportunities which have been dramatized by your visit.
As the first opportunity, we can renew our spiritual lives -- in our individual lives, in our families, in our nation, in our uorld.
During the past few days, you have made us reexamine ourselves. For all the attraction and the sometimes necessity of material things, you have reminded us of the value of human life, and that spiritual strength is the most vital resource of people and of nations.
Caring for others makes us strong and gives us courage, while blind pursuit of selfish purposes of "having more" instead of "being more" -- only leaves us empty and depressed, lonely and fearful.
We often see tragic results among those we love -- disillusionment, cynicism, alienation -- sometimes leading to self debasement, crime and violence.
This does not have to be. These times of rapid and complex change demand that we turn to that which does not every change -- the spiritual strength to grow together -- to find unity as a nation, as a human family -- and I believe we will.
Our second opportunity is to recognize that our values, our beliefs, our faith are forged and made meaningful only through actions.
We must be prepared -- both as individuals and as a society -- not only to deplore poverty, injustice and the smothering of human aspiration, but to end them.
We know that material values and spiritual values are interrelated, and that inequality of opportunity in life breeds dissillusionment and sometimes even strife among human beings.
We Americans can act on that knowledge both within our country and beyond our borders -- and I believe that we will.
Our third opportunity is to remember that the enhancement of human rights is the compelling idea and goal of our time.
Through your own example, you've shown the world that the power of the human spirit cannot be subdued by the power of the state. Your courage inspired your native land and it now inspires the world.
You've shown how we can find meaning within ourselves -- by reaching out to others in our shared humanity. We believe that the worthy goals of a society call upon us to help others in a common pursuit of freedom and human rights.
This, for us, has been the meaning of America for more than two centuries. The Pilgrims of New England, the Quakers of Pennsylvania, the Catholic of Maryland, the Jews and many members of other faiths and denominations who found safety ih America have all been witnesses to a fundamental fact -- that where religious faith is free, human liberty, equality and justice may grow. This is a message which is as vital today as it was 200 years ago when our nation was founded.
As a nation of faith and vigor, we are committed to deliver the message of human freedom throughout the world -- and Your Holiness, that we will.
Our fourth opportunity is peace. We are dedicated to the belief that the natural and the proper desire of all human beings is peace.
We seek a peace in Rhodesia, in Nicaragua, in every part of the world. We are a great nation that through self-confidence and faith must share with others the security and the beneficial influence which God's blessings have offered to us.
We have the will to limit the growth and spread of nuclear arms. We can bury hatred and heal political divisions and control the terrible instruments of mass destruction on behalf of humanity.
It is our duty and our destiny to walk with those others, like yourself, who would guide the world in the ways of peace -- and we will, because this nation is not and never can be afraid of peace.
Your Holiness, this is what your historic journey has meant to us. It is fitting that your path through America has brought you at last to our nation's capital.
I welcome you to the White House -- the symbolic home of all our people.
On behalf of every American of every faith, I also welcome you into our nation's heart.
God bless you for coming to our country. We are proud to have you here.