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Pope warns against adulation of Western lifestyle
    In a message marking last week's World Day of Peace, Pope John Paul II warned non-European cultures against worshipping the Western lifestyle, which in his opinion leads to 'spiritual and moral impoverishment'.
    The Holy Father expressed concern over 'slavish conformity' to Western culture, its power in communications technology and scientific advances that have led to cloning and the use of human embryos for research.
    Warning against the propagation of Western viewpoints 'by powerful media campaigns', he stressed that the Western 'monopoly on these cultural "industries"' can undermine cultural distinctiveness.
    The Pope called all civilisations to protect the value of life and condemned abortion, euthanasia, torture, mutilation, trafficking in women and children, 'unnecessary recourse' to the death penalty as well as racism.
    Referring to a controversy raised by one of his archbishops, Cardinal Giacomo Biffi of Bologna, who recently suggested that the Italian government give preference to Christian immigrants because of problems with the integration of Muslims, the Pontiff called for moderation in such matters. He noted that it was necessary to obtain a 'cultural equilibrium' which promotes openness to minorities while fostering a common heritage.