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What World Leaders Say About John Paul II

"A Good Father to All of Us"

ROME, APRIL 10, 2005 (Zenit) - Throughout the week, praise for the person of John Paul II came from many corners, including the political realm. Below is a sampling of what world leader said about the late Pope.

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Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, president of Italy

"He has transmitted hope and fidelity to all of us. He has sculpted consciences with values that give meaning and dignity to people's lives and to human society. John Paul II believed in the force of the spirit and has witnessed, with his indomitable courage and serenity in suffering, the fortitude that enables us to affront any obstacle, to work for good in every circumstance. He will continue to live in our hearts, in our acknowledgment of his testimony and of his example. He has been a true apostle for peace in the whole world. Italy, Rome -- his diocese that is congregating in St Peter's Square -- cry for the loss of a father, for a loved person."

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Aleksander Kwasniewski, president of Poland

"A great Pope -- our most outstanding fellow countryman, the Holy Father, a good father to all of us, believers and nonbelievers, followers of different religions -- is no more."

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Silvio Berlusconi, prime minister of Italy

"We are grateful to him for the tireless and difficult work he carried out unstintingly against all forms of totalitarianism, violence, oppression and moral degradation, all in the name of the values of the Catholic Church, which are the supreme values of human dignity and solidarity."

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George W. Bush, president of the United States

"Pope John Paul II was, himself, an inspiration to millions of Americans, and to so many more throughout the world. We will always remember the humble, wise and fearless priest who became one of history's great moral leaders. We're grateful to God for sending such a man, a son of Poland, who became the Bishop of Rome, and a hero for the ages."

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Gerhard Schröder, German chancellor

The Pope had "influenced the peaceful integration of Europe in many ways. By his efforts and through his impressive personality, he changed our world."

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Lech Walesa, former Polish president and Solidarity leader

"I think we shall keep discovering how much the Holy Father worked for us and struggled for us. He spoke to us through his illness and through his suffering served to the very end.

"Without him there would be no end of communism or at least -- it would have come -- much later and the end would have been bloody."

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Shimon Peres, vice premier of Israel

The Pope "embodied the best that is within all mankind as well as the commonness of humanity. ... His actions and statements transformed relations between the Catholic and Jewish faiths, and made a fundamental impact on the struggle against anti-Semitism."

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Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinian leader

"We will miss him as a distinguished religious figure, who devoted his life to defending the values of peace, freedom and equality."

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Fidel Castro, president of Cuba

"Humanity will preserve an emotional memory of the tireless work of His Holiness John Paul II in favor of peace, justice and solidarity among all people."

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Mohammad Khatami, Iranian president

"It is with extreme sadness that we hear of the passing of the leader of the world's Catholics, His Holiness Pope John Paul II, who commanded the three paths of religious learning, philosophical thought and poetical and artistic creativity."

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Kofi Annan, U.N. secretary-general

"Quite apart from his role as a spiritual guide to more than a billion men, women and children, he was a tireless advocate of peace, a true pioneer in interfaith dialogue and a strong force for critical self-evaluation by the Church itself."

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Gloria Arroyo, president of the Philippines

"He was a holy champion of the Filipino family and of profound Christian values that make everyone of us contemplate ... what is just, moral and sacred in life."

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Vicente Fox, president of Mexico

"John Paul II was an exceptional man, his legacy will transcend generations."

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Jacques Chirac, president of France

[History] "will retain the imprint and the memory of this exceptional sovereign pontiff, whose charisma, conviction and compassion carried the evangelical message with unprecedented resonance on the international stage."

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