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Pope John Paul II praised Portugal's visiting president Friday for his nation's conservative Catholicism, saying it could inspire hope amid a "grave crisis" in modern values.

The pope also condemned euthanasia in a separate meeting with doctors, the second attack on the practice by the Vatican this week.

Mostly Catholic Portugal has some of Europe's strictest abortion laws, totally banning the procedure after 12 weeks of pregnancy and sharply limiting when it is permitted in earlier weeks.

"The world continues to look to Portugal with hope, especially in terms of becoming aware of the grave crisis of values in modern society, ever more insecure in the face of fundamental ethical decisions for the future path of humanity," the pope told visiting President Jorge Sampaio.

Later, calling euthanasia "one of those dramas caused by an ethic which seeks to establish who can live and who must die," John Paul said the practice, "instead of redeeming the person from suffering, suppresses."

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