On the Occasion of Pope John Paul II's Visit to Jordan
20 March 2000
With joy, hope and respect, I join all Jordanians in welcoming you to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. We welcome you to the Holy Land as a man of peace, whose message of reconciliation and harmony continues to echo throughout the world. We welcome you as a symbol of all that is pure and noble in this life: faith and prayer to Almighty God, and forgiveness for each other. We welcome you as a true reminder to us all that the power of love is a much stronger and harder one to attain than that of conflict and hatred. We welcome you as a fellow believer in God, the Compassionate and the Merciful.
The people of this historic land attach special significance to your historic visit. In many ways, it parallels that of Pope Paul VI in 1964, which touched with its message Muslims and Christians alike. In the words of His Majesty the late King Hussein: "It was not just a visit, it meant a great deal to us who believe in God, it meant a coming together of people of both religions. It was a very, very great happening." It is now your turn, Your Holiness, which brings the hope of a brighter future to those who have known nothing but the misery of the past. Hope for the Palestinians who yearn for justice and stability, a promise for the Israelis of security and acceptance, comfort for the Lebanese of a better tomorrow, and hope for the Syrians that the sad chapter of war is finally over. It is also a prayer for our Iraqi brothers and sisters for a new, brighter day to finally dawn upon them.
It is now your turn to remind us of important facts lest they be forgotten: the virtues of faith and the absolute need for forgiveness of one's enemies. Your presence testifies to a commitment and an insistence on justice that you have displayed wherever you have visited. It is a true legacy that reinforces our determination to seek peace where war was devastating, and to look for harmony where discord and affliction were present. It is a call for those believers in peace not to lose hope.
This is a unique and emotional moment that brings closer the meaning of tolerance and coexistence from a distant land of dreams. It is a moment that witnesses a pilgrimage by a holy man to a crossroads of history and geography, where religion and civilisation started, as ordained by God. I know well the spiritual nourishment that this brings, for I too have been blessed by God who enabled me to submit to him along with millions of believers in Mecca last week. The commonality of that experience is nowhere better expressed than in God's words:
O Mankind, We created you from a single pair of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other. Verily, the most honoured of you in the sight of God is he who is the most righteous of you. And God has full knowledge and is well-acquainted with all things. (Surah Al-Hujurat, Ayah 13)
As I welcome Your Holiness among us here in Jordan during this memorable Jubilee Year of Peace, let me express the warmth and anticipation that Jordanians of all walks of life harbour for you. Your mission is benevolent and your cause is noble. We all pray for its fulfilment.
Thank you very much.