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Pope receives US Congressional Gold Medal
    The US Congress yesterday bestowed its highest civilian honour on John Paul II.
    A bipartisan delegation of Senators and Representatives was in Rome to present him the Congressional Gold Medal.
    Sam Brownback, sponsor of the measure in the Senate, explained that the Holy Father is 'one of the most recognised persons in the world.
    He said: "He has been one of the greatest pastoral leaders of this century, fearlessly guiding the Catholic Church into the new millennium."
    "He stands boldly as an ever-vigilant sign of contradiction to a culture that is darkened by the clouds of death. In the face of this mounting storm, he has tirelessly proclaimed the need for a culture of life," continued the senator. "The urgency of the Pope's message becomes more acute each day, particularly at the beginning of the new millennium."
    The Medal has previously been awarded to distinguished individuals including Mother Teresa, Billy Graham, and Rosa Parks.