Jesse L. Jackson, reporting last night to a church here on his recent European trip, said he made a special appeal to Pope John Paul II "to consider going to South Africa because his presence would serve to illuminate the situation there and mobilize leaders around the world" in opposition to apartheid.
"We shared with the pope certain parallels between the Polish situation and the South African situation," Jackson said of his Thursday meeting with the pontiff.
The Solidarity labor union in Poland was broken, Jackson said, and "in South Africa the labor union was broken and the leaders were jailed."
Jackson said of his meeting Thursday with the pope, "We were impressed with his concern, his compassion and his caring. He had prayer with our delegation."
Jackson spoke at a prayer service at St. Augustine's Roman Catholic Church held to prepare church members to join today's demonstrations outside the South African Embassy in opposition to that country's policy of apartheid.
But, at times, Jackson's address to the cheering, applauding group of about 900 seemed a continuation of his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination.
Jackson urged the standing-room-only crowd to "keep the Rainbow Coalition alive," and members of his organization passed out envelopes for contributions to pay off his campaign debts.
"If you had a canceled check that you sent to Dr. Martin Luther King" to support the freedom marches in Alabama, Jackson told the congregation, "that check would have more meaning to you than anything else in your house."
Jackson, who has announced plans to travel to South Africa, said "I hope to go Feb. 3" to attend the "enthronement" of Desmond Tutu as Anglican bishop of Johannesburg."
He had been issued a visa to go to South Africa this week, but has asked that it be changed to coincide with Tutu's installation.
"I hope they will not apply a double standard, measuring me by any different yardstick," Jackson said in a news conference after the meeting.
"I'd like to meet with both [President Pieter] Botha and with labor leadership," Jackson said.
Jackson, who had indicated that while abroad he would seek the release of Americans being held hostage in Lebanon, told reporters here that "the best indication was that it was not a feasible time to go now, but we could be going fairly soon."
Addressing the church group, Jackson said, "We have reason to believe they are alive. There were four, now there are five," noting that a priest had been taken prisoner yesterday.
"We appeal for their release on human terms . . . . They are neither the problem nor the solution to the situation in the Middle East."