CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy (AP) _ Pope John Paul II paid tribute Sunday to Christians who suffered for their faith under totalitarian regimes of the 20th century, saying the same kind of repression continues today in countries around the world.

John Paul made the remarks to a crowd at his summer retreat at Castel Gandolfo outside Rome.

``We think in a special way of the clerics, of the religious men and women and of the laity who, in the totalitarian and anti-Christian regimes of our century, offered their lives in silence for love of Christ,'' John Paul said during a tribute for the feast day of evangelist John the Baptist.

``Today as yesterday, to be Christian signifies going against the current in respect to the mentality of this world,'' he said.

``Many, in diverse parts of the world, continue to suffer in the cause of the Gospel even in our day,'' John Paul said, without singling out any country by name.

The pope looked healthy as he stood at a window above his courtyard, a summer breeze ruffling his robes.

The pilgrims below kept him there longer than usual for the weekly addresses, breaking into protracted cheering and singing when he greeted delegations from different countries in their own languages.