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Vatican wastes no time in condemning apartheid

The Vatican condemned South Africa's policy of apartheid Monday shortly after Pope John Paul II met Prime Minister P. W. Botha and Foreign Minister Pik Botha. A Vatican statement, issued in an unusual procedure soon after the two South African leaders left Vatican City, repeated that the Roman Catholic Church considered apartheid contrary to Christian principles and human dignity.

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The statement also reaffirmed Vatican support of independence for Namibia (South-West Africa), which South Africa administers in defiance of United Nations resolutions.

The Pope talked with the two men for 28 minutes in his private study, a Vatican spokesman said, without giving details.

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