AP 8 Oct 1994 21:28 EDT V0073 1994. The Associated Press
VATICAN CITY (AP) -- A healthy-looking Pope John Paul II, addressing tens of thousands of people in St. Peter's Square on Saturday, said devotion to the family was the answer to society's "cultural and social decay."
John Paul spoke during weekend celebrations to cap the church's Year of the Family, during which he has spoken out against abortion, artificial contraception and other issues viewed as threats to the family.
"Yes, the family is seriously threatened. And how could the church ... not be worried about it?" the pontiff said.
The pope had cancelled a trip this month to the United States to recuperate after breaking his leg in a fall on April 29. The Vatican had dismissed speculation the pope was ill.
John Paul has looked frail and tired in recent appearances, and sometimes has to be helped up and down stairs. But he looked healthy Saturday, his cheeks ruddy, and he departed frequently from his text in a firm voice.
Someone in the crowd yelled, "Long live the pope!" and John Paul said in an aside, "He's still alive."
Families from more than 100 countries filled the square as the pope rode through the aisles in his popemobile. Also present was Mother Teresa, who recited a prayer.
In his remarks, the pope singled out last month's U.N. population conference in Cairo as a threat to the family. The Vatican waged a partly successful campaign to weaken language on abortion in conference documents.
"Facing the current cultural and social decay, in the presence of spreading plagues like violence, drugs, organized crime, what better guarantee ... is there than the united family, morally healthy and civically dedicated?" he asked.