Pope John Paul II decried a spreading "culture of death" Thursday in a new encyclical that U.S. church leaders say puts the anti-abortion movement back on the moral offensive.
The 11th encyclical of John Paul's 16-year papacy represents the Roman Catholic Church's broadest and most forceful condemnation of abortion and euthanasia. The pontiff also harshly denounced the death penalty in his encyclical but refrained from a blanket condemnation of executions.
"It is this century's Magna Carta proclaiming and defending human life," said Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony, chairman of the U.S. Bishops Committee on Pro-Life Activities.
But Patty Brous, the …