Pope urges young Croatians to marry

June 8, 2003 at 2:32 PM

RIJEKA, Croatia, June 8 (UPI) -- At a Sunday Mass in Croatia, Pope John Paul II, urged young people to marry and raise families.

For the last day of his 100th foreign trip of his papacy, about 100,000 Croatians attended a Mass in a sweltering heat wave to hear the 83-year-old pope speak on family values.

In addition to promoting family, John Paul II said, "It must not be forgotten that in helping the family, we also help to resolve other important problems, such as providing assistance to the sick and the elderly, stopping the spread of crime and finding a remedy to drug use."

For his historic 100th foreign trip, the New York Times reported the crowds were unexpectedly small and the welcome subdued.

A papal biographer with close ties to the Vatican told The Times, "We're clearly no longer in the John Paul Superstar phase."

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