Vatican Notes & Quotes

John Paul II Appeals for the Rights of Women

Pope John Paul II marked International Women's Day by decrying the segregation of women by certain “political regimes” he did not name, according to a Reuters report.

His words coincided with demonstrations by Muslim women who protested their segregated status in Afghanistan, and by Polish pro-lifers, who were pelted with eggs and potatoes as they demonstrated, according to the report.

John Paul II said, “I would like to launch an appeal for the women who even today have their basic rights denied by the political regimes of their countries: women segregated, forbidden to study, follow a profession, even to express their own opinion in public.”

If it is true, as the report speculates, that the Holy Father was referring to the predicament of Muslim women, it would be the second time he found himself allied with them. At the pro-abortion UN conferences on women that met in Beijing and Cairo, the Vatican's delegation worked in concert with Muslim and other women from third world nations to prevent a program enforcing abortion, sterilization, and contraception on a worldwide scale.

Will Pope Succeed in Ending Cuban Embargo?

Behind the scenes negotiations might soon fulfill Pope John Paul II's call for America to end its embargo of Cuba, says one London newspaper.

A report in The Telegraph (March 10) said, “America may ease sanctions against Cuba after agreeing with the Vatican to adopt a ‘religious driven’ policy towards the island, according to reports in Italy...

La Repubblica newspaper, which enjoys close contacts with the Holy See, quoted an American diplomat admitting to Vatican officials that Washington had been ‘over-reacting’ to the Castro regime ‘for years’ and a policy change was needed.”

“The Vatican's response was to ‘unfurl a map of Latin America, and to mark all the countries where personal efforts of the Pope and local bishops in the 1980s favored the transition to democracy. ’”

The report noted that the Holy Father had intervened on behalf of ending the sanctions with both U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Cuba's Fidel Castro.

He is pressing for certain concessions from Cuba in return, like allowing Catholics running for office to acknowledge their faith, according to the report.