First, I want to say to all of you that, as you might imagine, I
have been on quite a journey these last few weeks to get to the end
of this, to the rock bottom truth of where I am and where we all
I agree with those who have said that in my first statement after I
testified I was not contrite enough. I don't think there is a fancy
way to say that I have sinned.
It is important to me that everybody who has been hurt know that the
sorrow I feel is genuine: first and most important, my family; also
my friends, my staff, my Cabinet, Monica Lewinsky and her family,
and the American people. I have asked all for their forgiveness.
But I believe that to be forgiven, more than sorrow is required - at
least two more things. First, genuine repentance - a determination
to change and to repair breaches of my own making. I have repented.
Second, what my bible calls a ''broken spirit''; an understanding
that I must have God's help to be the person that I want to be; a
willingness to give the very forgiveness I seek; a renunciation of
the pride and the anger which cloud judgment, lead people to excuse
and compare and to blame and complain.
Now, what does all this mean for me and for us? First, I will
instruct my lawyers to mount a vigorous defence, using all available
appropriate arguments. But legal language must not obscure the fact
that I have done wrong. Second, I will continue on the path of
repentance, seeking pastoral support and that of other caring people
so that they can hold me accountable for my own commitment.
Third, I will intensify my efforts to lead our country and the world
toward peace and freedom, prosperity and harmony, in the hope that
with a broken spirit and a still strong heart I can be used for
greater good, for we have many blessings and many challenges and so
much work to do.
In this, I ask for your prayers and for your help in healing our
nation. And though I cannot move beyond or forget this - indeed, I
must always keep it as a caution light in my life - it is very
important that our nation move forward.
I am very grateful for the many, many people - clergy and ordinary
citizens alike - who have written me with wise counsel. I am
profoundly grateful for the support of so many Americans who somehow
through it all seem to still know that I care about them a great
deal, that I care about their problems and their dreams. I am
grateful for those who have stood by me and who say that in this
case and many others, the bounds of privacy have been excessively
and unwisely invaded. That may be. Nevertheless, in this case, it
may be a blessing, because I still sinned. And if my repentance is
genuine and sustained, and if I can maintain both a broken spirit
and a strong heart, then good can come of this for our country as
well as for me and my family.
The children of this country can learn in a profound way that
integrity is important and selfishness is wrong, but God can change
us and make us strong at the broken places. I want to embody those
lessons for the children of this country - for that little boy in
Florida who came up to me and said that he wanted to grow up and be
President and to be just like me. I want the parents of all the
children in America to be able to say that to their children.
A couple of days ago when I was in Florida a Jewish friend of mine
gave me this liturgy book called ''Gates of Repentance.'' And there
was this incredible passage from the Yom Kippur liturgy. I would
like to read it to you:
''Now is the time for turning. The leaves are beginning to turn from
green to red to orange. The birds are beginning to turn and are
heading once more toward the south. The animals are beginning to
turn to storing their food for the winter. For leaves, birds and
animals, turning comes instinctively. But for us, turning does not
come so easily. It takes an act of will for us to make a turn. It
means breaking old habits. It means admitting that we have been
wrong, and this is never easy. It means losing face. It means
starting all over again. And this is always painful. It means saying
I am sorry. It means recognizing that we have the ability to change.
These things are terribly hard to do. But unless we turn, we will be
trapped forever in yesterday's ways. Lord help us to turn, from
callousness to sensitivity, from hostility to love, from pettiness
to purpose, from envy to contentment, from carelessness to
discipline, from fear to faith. Turn us around, O Lord, and bring us
back toward you. Revive our lives as at the beginning, and turn us
toward each other, Lord, for in isolation there is no life.''
I thank my friend for that. I thank you for being here. I ask you to
share my prayer that God will search me and know my heart, try me
and know my anxious thoughts, see if there is any hurtfulness in me,
and lead me toward the life everlasting. I ask that God give me a
clean heart, let me walk by faith and not sight.
I ask once again to be able to love my neighbour - all my neighbours
- as my self, to be an instrument of God's peace; to let the words
of my mouth and the meditations of my heart and, in the end, the
work of my hands, be pleasing. This is what I wanted to say to you
Thank you. God bless you.