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Sunday, 2 March 1969


Mister President,

We are very happy, and deeply grateful too, that your courtesy has made this visit possible, at the close of your strenuous working journey through Europe.

In the past, We have already had the honour of visits from you: but now you come to Us in another capacity, with the heavy responsibilities of the President of the United States of America.

It is as such that We greet you, giving expression immediately to a warm and spontaneous wish: May you, in your administration, experience the deep satisfaction of making a real contribution to the total cessation of those conflicts now, unfortunately, in progress; and of putting an even more effective stop to the outbreak of new armed struggles, by following the sure way towards a lasting peace, and promoting true prosperity by means of a widely-based and fruitful understanding.

This is the mission which your great Nation, Mister President, along with the other members of the international community, is called upon to fulfil: a mission of peace, a mission of noble-hearted collaboration with all peoples, and particularly with the developing peoples, in mutual esteem, with respect for the fundamental freedoms of men and of Nations, and in the promotion of genuine human values.

All peoples are closely bound together, now more than ever before, in a common destiny, the great world-wide effort to build, on solid foundations, the earthly city in which each individual lives and works.

An exalting and difficult task, this, It is one that calls for foresight, in order that, while uncovering the immensity of mankind’s needs, it may also realize. the no less immense possibilities offered today, especially by science and technology employed in the service of man.

It is also a task that requires good, constructive, and generous ideas, noble desires, moral energy, a clear vision of reality, firm decision, courage to make choices, and persevering constancy in the way that is chosen.

It is therefore a task which has need of an assistance that cannot be physically measured, yet is absolutely indispensable; for “unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it will labour in vain” (Ps. 126, 1).

To construct this earthly city in unity, prosperity, wisdom and concord, the Catholic Church, inspired by the Gospel message, will unfailingly continue to offer her disinterested and active contribution of moral energy and support.

That the serene vision of peace may ever shine in your mind and heart, Mister President, to inspire and sustain your valiant efforts, Our repeated good wishes go with you, and Our heartfelt prayer accompanies you, as We invoke upon you, and upon the people of the United States of America who are so dear to Us, abundant divine blessings.

* * *

Terminata l’udienza al Presidente Nixon, il Santo Padre si reca nella sala Clementina per salutare gli alunni del Pontificio Collegio Americano del Nord, colà convenuti in occasione della visita del Presidente.

We welcome you to Our home, where you have just greeted the President of your great country. We are grateful to Mr. Nixon for ,his courteous visit, and We have assured him of Our complete and disinterested collaboration in all that helps the cause o f World peace, and promotes loving brotherhood among all the peoples of this planet of ours.

As We said during the first visit of a Pope to the United States of America: “You must love peace . . . You must serve the cause of peace” (Oct. 4, 1965). Each one of you can make your contribution to World peace: first, by being at peace with yourself, your own conscience, your own ideals; then, by seeking peace in humility and truth with your neighbor, near and far, of every color, nationality and religion; finally, by living in peace with God, Who made you to be eternally happy with Him, after serving Him in all our brothers and sisters of the human race.

We recommend Our prayers for you, your families, your loved ones, your President, and the United States of America, to your most powerful heavenly patron, Our Lady, conceived without sin; and in the name of her Divine Son, We impart to you all Our Apostolic Blessing.


*AAS 61 (1969), p.242-243.

Insegnamenti di Paolo VI, vol. VII, p.132-134.

L'Osservatore Romano 3-4.3.1969, p.1.

ORa n.10 p.1.


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