Pope Again Assails Apartheid, Praises Demonstrators in Rome

Associated Press

Pope John Paul II spoke out again Sunday against racism in South Africa, saying anti-apartheid demonstrators champion the undeniable rights of man.

The pontiff, speaking after his weekly blessing in St. Peter's Square, praised the 10,000 people who marched in Rome in a Christmas demonstration Saturday against South Africa's policy of apartheid, or racial separation.

"They demonstrate an affirmation of the values and the undeniable rights that help make man more human, and help him to realize his true dignity . . . and to elevate him socially, culturally and spiritually," John Paul told about 4,000 faithful, including some of Saturday's protesters.

The Roman Catholic Church regards such actions with "approval and support," the pontiff told the group.

"I hope that this significant testimony serves to stimulate growing knowledge of the evangelical message of reciprocal love that makes all men one family, on the plane of respect for the human being, without any discrimination," the Pope said.

He then turned to Uganda, saying he hopes that a pact signed last week between the military government and the main guerrilla group will "return the country to secure and normal conditions."

He urged those gathered to pray "that this tender seed of peace and national reconciliation will be protected from the tremors not yet completely stilled after too much violence."

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