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Pope Objects To `False Idea' Of Church-State Separation

In a major address to the diplomatic corps at the Vatican, Pope John Paul II has protested a "false idea of the principle of separation between the state and churches" that limits church influence in some Western European countries.

Speaking to ambassadors from the 169 countries with full diplomatic relations with the Holy See (including the United States), the pope expressed "painful concern about the all too numerous violations of religious freedom in today's world."

John Paul cited violence against Roman Catholics in India and Africa and criticized the "grave forms of discrimination" against all non-Muslims in some Islamic countries. But the pope also accused governments of Western Europe of trying to muzzle the church.

"In certain countries of Western Europe," he said, "one notes an equally disturbing development which, under the false idea of the principle of separation between the state and the churches or as a result of a deep-seated...

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