Halfway through the visit, a friend asked, "When was the last time you saw on television a shy person smile?" When, during the course of his reading what he came to say, applause and cheers broke out, he would hesitantly looked up from his text with a small smile of pleased surprise and say, in effect, "That's very nice but now let us return to the subject at hand." Grateful for the welcome of the American people and thanking the bishops and President Bush in particular, he said the purpose of the visit was "to confirm the Catholics in their faith, to renew and increase fraternity with all Christians, and to announce to everyone the message of 'Christ Our Hope.'" He added: "I was able to pay homage to this great country, which from the beginning has been based on a pleasing joining together of religious, ethical, and political principles, and continues to be a valid example of healthy secularism where the religious dimension, in its diverse expressions, is not only tolerated but valued as the 'soul' of the nation and the fundamental guarantee of the rights and duties of the human being."
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