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VATICAN (CWN)—The Catholic Church has rejected the argument that a pro-life activist in France should be offered political asylum. Dr. Xavier Dor, who had spent a night at the residence of the papal nuncio in Paris, left the building voluntarily this morning, to face a possible prison sentence of eight months for his involvement in blockades at abortion centres. Convicted on December 9 by a court at Versailles, Dor had arrived at the nunciature proclaiming the right to political asylum.

Although the nunciature in Paris declined all public comment, the Holy See today issued a statement indicating that Dor did not qualify for asylum, but rather that his case was one of “conscientious objection.” Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls said that during his overnight stay at the nunciature, Dor had “no doubt realized that this was not a case for political asylum.”

Dor had told a French radio audience that his involvement in pro-life activism was a result of “orders from the Pope.” He referred to the encyclical Evangelium Vitae, 73, in which the Holy Father had argued that abortion and euthanasia are crimes which no human law can render legitimate. The Pope also calls upon all Christians to resist such laws, and reiterates the traditional Catholic teaching that citizens are under no moral obligation to obey intrinsically unjust laws.

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