The pope arrives in Washington this week on a landmark visit that, given his radical agenda, comes at a crucial moment for Catholicism

The one thing you could depend on when Pope John Paul II made one of his high-profile overseas trips was that he would hammer home in the most uncompromising terms Catholicism’s opposition to abortion. For the Polish pontiff, who died in 2005 and has now been declared a saint, abortion was murder, a stance which he presented as the keystone of all orthodoxy for Catholics.

This week his successor but one, the Argentinian Pope Francis, will be following in John Paul’s footsteps with his own first visit to the United States after spending the weekend in Cuba. Together, the two legs of the trip promise to be among the defining moments of what has already been an extraordinary two-and-a-half-year papacy.

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Source: Guardian Environment