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English Section

US president pays tribute to Polish-born pope

03.06.2020 07:45
US President Donald Trump has paid tribute to John Paul II, the Polish-born pope who led the Roman Catholic Church until 2005 and who was declared a saint in 2014, Poland's PAP news agency has reported.
US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump visit the Saint John Paul II National Shrine in Washington on Tuesday.
US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump visit the Saint John Paul II National Shrine in Washington on Tuesday.Photo: PAP/EPA/CHRIS KLEPONIS

Trump and his wife Melania on Tuesday laid a wreath at a monument to the late pontiff in front of the St. John Paul II National Shrine in Washington, the Polish state news agency reported.

Last month marked a century since John Paul II was born in the southern Polish town of Wadowice on May 18, 1920.

John Paul II served as pope from October 16, 1978 until his death on April 2, 2005.

He was the third longest-serving pontiff in history.

Polish President Andrzej Duda last month hailed John Paul II as a “pope of freedom and solidarity” and one of the most important figures of the 20th century.

Trump last year hailed the Polish-born pope as “a champion for human dignity and religious liberty” and said that the pontiff’s 1979 trip to his native Poland "helped tear down the Iron Curtain of communism in Europe."

Photo: PAP/EPA/CHRIS KLEPONIS Photo: PAP/EPA/CHRIS KLEPONIS

According to US broadcaster CNN, Trump's photo-op outside the Washington shrine on Tuesday marked his second visit to a religious site in as many days and drew some sharp rebukes.

The visit came after protesters including some clergymen "were pushed back using tear gas and flash bangs" during incidents in the US capital, CNN reported.

Ahead of the visit, Washington Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory released a sharply worded statement criticizing Trump and the shrine for hosting him, CNN said on its website.

A statue of Polish and American independence hero Tadeusz Kościuszko was vandalized in Washington during protests over the death of a black man in police custody, the PAP news agency reported on Monday.

(gs/pk)

Source: PAP, cnn.com