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Pope’s Positions on Some Issues

October 3, 1998

John Paul II has been firm on maintaining traditional Roman Catholic teachings, showing little patience for those who choose selectively what precepts to follow. Some of his positions:

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ABORTION: Calls it ``abominable crime″ and ``shame of humanity.″ Says stopping abortion, and euthanasia, is nothing less than ``the salvation of man and of civilization.″

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CONTRACEPTION: Maintains church’s ban, putting contraception in category of ``disparagement of human life.″ Says birth control created false freedom, decline of values, erosion of conscience.

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HOMOSEXUALITY: Says homosexuals should be treated with compassion, but rules out sex between gays along with any sex outside marriage.

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DIVORCE: Continues stricture on divorced and remarried Catholics receiving communion, but they may attend Mass.

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CAPITAL PUNISHMENT: Says it should be ``very rare, if practically non-existent.″

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PRIESTS: Says they are male because Christ was male and chose male apostles. Retains celibacy rule as Jesus’ ideal and in keeping with priests’ duties.

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ALTAR GIRLS: Vatican endorsed girls serving at altar in 1994, but practice was already widespread.

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LIBERATION THEOLOGY: Criticizes this movement, which sees church’s mission as lifting people out of oppression and poverty, when it includes Marxist doctrines like class struggle and violence for social and political change.

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ECONOMICS: Preaches against rampant capitalism, unrestrained quest for profit and unbridled materialism.

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