Pope to politicians: Be guided by moral values, service

Posted: Friday, November 10, 2000

VATICAN CITY (AP) -- Pope John Paul II concluded a two-day Holy Year event for more than 2,000 politicians from 92 nations, including former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, by telling them to be guided by moral values and a sense of service.

The pontiff warned against pragmatism that ''reduces politics to nothing but mediation of interests or, even worse, demagoguery or electoral calculations.''

The assembly was not without dissent. Delegates dropped a motion condemning the death penalty from the agenda after strong resistance in some quarters.

A large tapestry of Sir Thomas More, whom the pope decreed as the patron saint of politicians, hung from a balcony at the concluding Mass. Sir Thomas, the chancellor of England who opposed King Henry VIII's divorce, was beheaded in 1535.

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