The Associated Press
NEW YORK Ä For Pope John Paul II, the cancellation of his U.S. visit this fall means a lost opportunity to bring his crusade against abortion to the United Nations during the International Year of the Family.
For Roman Catholic churches in the Northeast, it means tens of thousands of parishioners will have to wait another year to see the head of their faith.
Six-year-old Kristina Scarlotta of New York City cried when she heard the news.
"My daughter was getting ready for school and saw it first and started to cry and I sat there and cried with her," said her mother, Theresa, choking back tears again. "I cried for her because she was so excited about the visit . I know they said next year, but next year is a long way off for a child."
The 74-year-old pontiff was due to leave Oct. 20 for a four-day visit to the United Nations in New York, Yonkers, Newark, N.J., and Baltimore.
Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro said Thursday the pope called off the trip because he had not fully recovered from a fall in April in which he broke his leg.
The Vatican said the pope intends to make a trip to the United States in Nov. 1995 to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations.
Both the United Nations and the Catholic Church have declared 1994 the International Year of the Family. The pope had hoped to use the visit as a forum to expand on issues such as abortion and contraception that the Vatican battled over at the Cairo population summit earlier this month.
The pope, who is preparing a new encyclical for this year on abortion and other "sanctity of life" issues, regards the church's position on abortion, divorce and sexual morality as under attack in the United States.
But his remarks may not get the same attention next year, so long after the Cairo conference.
"They would have been heard within that context of heightened interest and heightened publicity," said John Grabowski, a moral theologian at Catholic University of America.
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