Religion: Shutting the Door on Dissent

The Vatican orders an end to debate over abortion

Pope John Paul II's position on abortion is firm and uncompromising: it is morally wrong and equivalent to infanticide. That papal teaching, along with its corollary that Roman Catholics should actively seek to overturn legislation that allows the taking of prenatal life, has put the Vatican in a confrontation with 24 American nuns that could lead to their expulsion from religious life. The nuns are among 97 Catholics, including three men who belong to religious orders, who signed "A Catholic Statement on Pluralism and + Abortion," an advertisement published in the New York Times last October.

The ad was a response...

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