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"Be Protectors of Life" Pope John Paul II Celebrates 25th Anniversary As Head of the Catholic Church.

Despite continuing health problems, Pope John Paul II, who is 83 years old, is maintaining an aggressive schedule as he prepares to celebrate his 25th anniversary as the head of the Roman Catholic Church on October 16.

Throughout his tenure as pope, Pope John Paul II has continually and steadfastly preached on the sanctity of human life and has repeatedly focused on the worldwide tragedy of abortion.

Through numerous encyclicals, writings, and public statements, Pope John Paul II clearly identified the danger of the growing worldwide "Culture of Death" and urged people of all religious faiths to unite behind a "Culture of Life" philosophy to help restore respect and dignity to all human life.

The Pope, who suffers from Parkinson's Disease and crippling ailments of his knee and hip, had his stamina tested as recently as mid-September when he made the 102nd foreign tour of his papacy. But there were also moments of great tenderness.

On September 13, during a mass in Roznava, Slovakia, the Pope was approached by twin five-year-old girls who had been born as Siamese twins and were successfully separated. He reached out and touched each child on the cheek and told the crowd, "Be protectors of life," in what even the secular press understood was a statement in opposition to abortion.

The twin girls, Lucia and Andrea, born with their hips joined, were successfully separated in 2000 and were accompanied by their mother Melita Tothova. Bishop Eduart Kojnok, the Bishop of Roznava, said, "The Siamese sisters were chosen to show people that the mother would have killed two beautiful, healthy children if she had decided to abort."

The Pope also recently named 30 new cardinals from 18 countries and six continents, including Cardinal-elect Justin F. Rigali, who was recently named the Archbishop of Philadelphia. Within the College of Cardinals, there are now 135 cardinals who will be able to vote to elect the next pope. All but five of them have been appointed by Pope John Paul II.>EN
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Author:Ohlhoff, Ernest
Publication:National Right to Life News
Geographic Code:4EXSV
Date:Oct 1, 2003
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