Truth Is My Sword Volume I -Collected Speeches in the Public Arena
by Bo Hi Pak
The Acceptance Ceremony of the Degree of Doctor Honoris Causa
November 15, 1984
At a ceremony held at the United Nations, Rev. Moon and Dr. Pak were presented with Degrees of Doctor Honoris Causa from Catholic University of Argentina in honor of their meritorious service to humanity. Mrs. Hak Ja Han Moon received the degree on behalf of her husband, who was incarcerated at Danbury, Connecticut. The following remarks were given by Dr. Pak in New York on November 15, 1984.
Mrs. Sun Myung Moon, Ambassador Jose Maria Chaves, Dr. Nicolas Argentato, Deans of the Catholic University of La Plata, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen: I feel so deeply honored today that I cannot find the proper words to express my heartfelt thanks and appreciation. I feel very inadequate. For my small contribution in the service of God and humanity I have been chosen to receive this great honor. Nevertheless, for my wife, who has been standing side by side with me for 30 years, and on behalf of the members of my family, I want to extend my heartfelt gratitude to Dr. Argentato and the deans and members of the faculty as well as the entire Catholic University of La Plata, for this great honor.
I would like to also express my heartfelt thanks and appreciation to Monsignor Antonio Jose Plaza, Archbishop of La Plata and Chancellor of the University of La Plata. Archbishop Plaza is a man of vision in the nation of Argentina. He is particularly a lover and pastor of young people. His burning desire is to leave behind a legacy of spiritual values and freedom for the young people of Argentina. I have met him many times, and he has won my deepest respect and admiration. I cherish his friendship very much.
This is indeed one of the greatest days of my life, and it seems to me to be most appropriate to share with you on this occasion something about my life experience.
I was born in 1930 in the remote countryside of Korea. I am sure that you have never heard of the little village where I was born. It is so remote, that at that time, we had never received any foreign visitors. I grew up as a country boy with no idea of the extent of the world. My parents could never have imagined that the boy which they brought up would grow up and become someone who would receive international recognition.
Fifty-four years later, that country boy is standing in this auditorium in this august room of the United Nations in New York receiving a Degree of Doctor Honoris Causa from one of the foremost universities of South America, the Catholic University of La Plata.
When I think of it, it is an incredible story. But I want you to know, all of this could only happen because in 1957, I met a great man of God, Reverend Sun Myung Moon. I want to tell you that this man, Reverend Sun Myung Moon, is going to change the course of history. This man of God will lay the foundation for lasting peace on the earth, and as a spiritual leader, he will help humanity in a way unparalleled in modern history. I have come to this conclusion after following him for half of my life.
When I was a young man of 27 years, I met Reverend Moon. When I came to understand the scope of his vision, I was ignited with a fire that has never died down. I determined to live my life totally dedicated to that same vision. I began to live by his principles and follow his example to the best of my ability. For that reason, what I am today is due to him. In the truest sense, therefore, this honor does not belong to me. I humbly offer this degree to God for His glory and then to my spiritual father, Reverend Sun Myung Moon. He is truly the one who is receiving both degrees today. I simply thank God that I was given life at this time and have been privileged to meet one of the great men of history and serve humanity in accord with his teaching. That is already the greatest honor I could ever receive, and there is nothing more I can ask.
As Mrs. Moon mentioned, today is a historical day because Reverend Moon is being awarded a doctoral degree in his absence. It may seem extraordinary, but if we study the pattern of history we can see that no historical figure ever lived an ordinary life. As Mrs. Moon said, Reverend Moon is an uncommon man who lives for history rather than for the present moment.
As we all know, Reverend Moon is today in incarceration. I believe that it is highly significant that at the time when this North American government chooses to unjustly confine him in a prison, representatives of South America come here to honor him.
Shortly after he entered the Federal Prison, one distinguished journalist from South America wrote him a moving letter. I would like to quote from that letter. It reads, "Thank you, Reverend Moon, for having elected to go to jail. Thanks to God, you are in jail in spite of the fact that you could have avoided it. You could have shortened your term merely by capitulating to the government. Or, you could have won the government's mercy by keeping silent about injustice and government abuses. But you did not choose that path. We are proud of your decision to choose suffering instead of bending your principles."
These sentences explain very eloquently why Reverend Moon is today in prison. He is a crusader for God, and he has been all his life.
Today in America, Reverend Moon is fulfilling the role of a prophet. He is "the voice crying in the wilderness" as the scripture states. Throughout human history God has frequently raised such voices. Through them, He has given words of warning and called upon His people to rededicate themselves to Him. This is the role of the prophet, and it is nearly always an unpopular mission. The prophet must tell the truth squarely and the truth is sometimes very painful to hear.
In the process of doing his mission, Reverend Moon inevitably became controversial. And he has been persecuted. However, he is not the first religious leader in history to have been persecuted. Every major religious figure in the Judeo-Christian tradition has walked the path of suffering through persecution. In the Old Testament era, many of the prophets were scorned. Jesus Christ himself was crucified. St. Paul, St. Peter, and others were imprisoned. Even in American history Roger Williams was exiled; Joseph Smith was killed; Martin Luther King, Jr., was jailed many times. Today Reverend Moon is following this same tradition.
When he was indicted by the U.S. prosecutor, he was in Korea. Reverend Moon is not a United States citizen. He could have remained comfortably in Korea because there is no extradition agreement between Korea and the United States. Yet he returned to the United States voluntarily to face a trial. Reverend Moon is a man of honor and he is innocent.
This is the reason that the religious community in America has risen up against the action of the government. More than 40 prominent individuals and religious organizations have filed "friends of the court" briefs with the United States Supreme Court. These organizations represent almost 120 million Americans.
On June 26, 1984, a Senate oversight hearing on religious freedom was conducted by Senator Orrin Hatch, Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on the Constitution. Reverend Moon was invited to testify as a special witness. I want to tell you what he said on that occasion, because it was so moving and shows so well his character. He said:
I am honored to dedicate myself today to the preservation of religious freedom in this country. If I can raise up a beacon warning Americans of the danger which lies ahead, then my sacrifice will serve a great purpose. The issue today is the very survival of America and the free world. To assure this survival, I am willing to suffer any indignity, to go any distance, to do any labor, and to bear any cross. I am even willing to give my life, if that will ensure that the nation and world survive and do God's will.
Reverend Moon's incarceration began on July 20, 1984. Thousands of ministers and theologians have declared that they are ready to spend one week of their lives in prison with Reverend Moon. Because the prison officials do not permit this, the ministers have organized a Common Suffering Fellowship in Washington, D.C. Numerous rallies in support of Reverend Moon and religious freedom were held in the major cities of the United States. Freedom of religion has become a major issue in America, and Reverend Moon is the rallying point.
Religious freedom has now become a worldwide movement. There has been an outpouring of sentiment of millions of people all around the world to protest against the injustice worked upon Reverend Moon.
Reverend Moon is a man of destiny. He is determined to live out his destiny regardless of the sacrifices demanded of him. I am convinced of one thing, however, and that is this. When he comes out of the prison, he will not come out just as a religious leader, founder of a church and a movement. He will come out as a man of history and an indomitable world figure.
Dr. Argentato, you have listened to my testimony about Reverend Moon. You and your university have just honored this man. I hope that you feel profoundly satisfied and fulfilled. For some reason, in the providence of God, your university has been chosen to honor this man. History will show you that you have done the right thing, and this occasion will be remembered as one of the finest moments in the history of your university.
I am sure that when news of this event spreads throughout the world, some people may ask, "Why did a Catholic university honor a man who is in prison? Furthermore, why is a Catholic university honoring the founder of the Unification Church?" I thank God that the Catholic University of La Plata has recognized a man who truly deserves the title "Doctor Honoris Causa." Reverend Moon is a man of cause. Furthermore, the word "catholic" means universal. It seems to me to be profoundly meaningful that a Catholic university honors a universal man who loves God and humanity beyond color, creed, and national boundary
As for myself, I am going to uphold this honor for the rest of my life. I humbly pledge that I will strive to live up to your expectation. For me, this honor is more a challenge than an award. I shall be proud to join with your university in your goal of educating the future leaders of our world.
I am proud to say that I am a man of "La Plata."
God bless you all. Thank you very much.
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