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Last Updated: Tuesday, 14 October, 2003, 16:14 GMT 17:14 UK
John Paul II in his own words
As Pope John Paul II marks 25 years as head of the Roman Catholic Church, BBC News Online looks back at some of his most memorable remarks.

Pope John Paul II
The Pope has strong views on a number of issues
On marriage and the family

The fear of making permanent commitments can change the mutual love of husband and wife into two loves of self - two loves existing side by side, until they end in separation. 1979

As the family goes, so goes the nation and so goes the whole world in which we live. 1986


On children and youth

The United Nations organisation has proclaimed 1979 as the Year of the Child. Are the children to receive the arms race from us as a necessary inheritance?
1979 - Address to the UN General Assembly

Young people are threatened... by the evil use of advertising techniques that stimulate the natural inclination to avoid hard work by promising the immediate satisfaction of every desire. 1988


On the priesthood

The vow of celibacy is a matter of keeping one's word to Christ and the Church. A duty and a proof of the priest's inner maturity; it is the expression of his personal dignity. 1979

You are priests, not social or political leaders. Let us not be under the illusion that we are serving the Gospel through an exaggerated interest in the wide field of temporal problems.
1981 - Addressing clergy in the Philippines

The teaching that priestly ordination is to be reserved to men alone has been preserved by the constant and universal tradition of the Church and firmly taught by the magisterium.

In virtue of my ministry of confirming the brethren I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgement is to be definitively held by all the Church's faithful.
1994 - Apostolic letter to the bishops of the Catholic Church


On Communism

The historical experience of socialist countries has sadly demonstrated that collectivism does not do away with alienation but rather increases it, adding to it a lack of basic necessities and economic inefficiency. 1991


On the United States

Freedom consists not in doing what we like, but in having the right to do what we ought. 1995

Radical changes in world politics leave America with a heightened responsibility to be, for the world, an example of a genuinely free, democratic, just and humane society. 1999


On the environment

Modern society will find no solution to the ecological problem unless it takes a serious look at its lifestyles. 1990


On his attacker

In the context of Christmas and the Holy Year of Redemption, I was able to meet with the person that you all know by name, Ali Agca, who in the year 1981 on 13 May made an attempt on my life.

But Providence took things in its own hands, in what I would call an extraordinary way, so that today I was able to meet my assailant and repeat to him the pardon I gave him immediately. 2000


On war

Humanity should question itself, once more, about the absurd and always unfair phenomenon of war, on whose stage of death and pain only remain standing the negotiating table that could and should have prevented it.
1982 - On arriving in Buenos Aires near the end of conflict between Argentina and the UK over the Falkland Islands


On science

Science can purify religion from error and superstition. Religion can purify science from idolatry and false absolutes. 1987


On abortion and contraception

The close connection which exists, in mentality, between the practice of contraception and that of abortion is becoming increasingly obvious.

It is being demonstrated in an alarming way by the development of chemical products, intrauterine devices and vaccines which, distributed with the same ease as contraceptives, really act as abortifacients in the very early stages of the development of the life of the new human being. 1995

A nation that kills its own children is a nation without hope. 1996

The conflict is between a culture that affirms, cherishes, and celebrates the gift of life, and a culture that seeks to declare entire groups of human beings - the unborn, the terminally ill, the handicapped, and others considered "unuseful" - to be outside the boundaries of legal protection. 1999


On the Holocaust

In this place of solemn remembrance, I fervently pray that our sorrow for the tragedy which the Jewish people suffered in the 20th Century will lead to a new relationship between Christians and Jews.

Let us build a new future in which there will be no more anti-Jewish feeling among Christians or anti-Christian feeling among Jews, but rather the mutual respect required of those who adore the one Creator and Lord, and look to Abraham as our common father in faith.
2000 - Address at Yad Vashem memorial in Israel


On himself

I have a sweet tooth for song and music. This is my Polish sin. 1979




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