'TORTURES by police "in nations dear to us" were condemned by the Pope in his pre-Easter speech before thousands of people in St. Peter's Basilica last week.
In one of the gloomiest surveys of his seven-year reign he spoke of racism as an "ignoble residue" of the past and also condemned terrorism, the drugs trade and the taking of hostages.
Of police brutality he said he had intervened "without any positive hope" of success to stop such acts and hoped they could be disproved.
ARMAMENTS TRADE On the growing armaments trade the Pope deplored the actions of rich countries to supply the "weaker nations which have pressing needs of many other things."
The trade and the increasing reliance attached to it by the industrialised countries was an "irrational phenomenon and a discomforting omen," continued the Pope.
Although not specifically mentioning the crisis in the Middle East and its association with the arms trade the Pope said he was especially saddened by the conflicts in that area which instead of dying down were becoming more embittered and prolonged.
Lady Astor a Catholic
LADY ASTOR, widow of Viscount Astor and the former model Bronwen Pugh, has become a Catholic. At a ceremony at Farm Street, she was received into the faith by Fr. Thomas Corbishley.
She said she decided to become a Catholic last December after having a "Catholic mind for years." Previously an active Anglican she was prominent in the ecumenical movement in Godalming, where she lives..