And I don’t see any such commonality whatsoever between the man in the White House today and the man in the Vatican today, regardless of their respective strengths and weaknesses. Do those two men today even have a shared understanding of what currently serves as the great international threat or global menace, or how to defeat it? I don’t think they do. What would President Trump and Pope Francis list as the great threats today? Immigration, radical Islam, “climate change,” economic inequality, the dictatorship of relativism? Would their top priorities intersect anywhere?
The President was determined to reassure those who had lived behind the Iron Curtain for nearly 40 years that they had not been forgotten and that a new day of freedom would soon dawn for them. He never tired, for example, of praising the Hungarian people for their courageous stand for freedom and against tyranny in 1956. In October 1981, on the 25th anniversary of the Hungarian Revolution, he said that the Freedom Fighters' example had given "new strength" to America's commitment to freedom and justice for all people. In his address to the British Parliament in 1982, Reagan described how "man's instinctive desire for freedom and self-determination" surfaces again and again as shown in Hungary in 1956.
Dr. Kengor: Think of two dates in 1981: On March 30, 1981, just outside the Washington Hilton, Ronald Reagan, leader of the free world, was shot by a would-be assassin. On May 13, 1981, just outside the Vatican, in the heart of St. Peter’s Square, Pope John Paul II, leader of the world’s largest group of Christians, was shot by a would-be assassin. We now know today what an anxious world did not know then: both men came perilously close to dying. The pope and the president would meet to discuss that joint mission on June 7, 1982, at the Vatican—a little over year since the assassination attempts.