Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

Church Continues Battle for the Family in Spain

Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

Church Continues Battle for the Family in Spain

Article excerpt

A mass rally in support of traditional families that featured a live satellite-television broadcast from Pope Benedict XVI has been harshly criticized by Spain's ruling Socialist Party as promoting undemocratic values.

The Madrid rally--held Dec. 30, the eve of the Feast of the Holy Family--was promoted by Cardinal Antonio Rouca Varela of Madrid and his archdiocese. Kiko Arguello, founder of the church movement Neocatechumenal Way, organized the event with a variety of church movements and communities. Organizers said 1.5 million people attended the rally, but crowd estimates from Spanish media were considerably smaller.

Arguello told Vatican Radio Dec. 29 that the rally was meant to support the traditional family, which in Europe is under "mortal attack."

Since the Socialist Party won elections in 2004, Spain's parliament has liberalized divorce laws, approved a bill allowing same-sex couples to marry and adopt children, and battled church officials over religion in the public school curriculum.

Arguello said, "Christian families need support because we are a minority; we are in a very serious situation." He said the rally was not political. In his address, Pope Benedict said, "The good of the person and society is intimately linked to the 'healthy condition' of the family," which, he said, is "founded on the indissoluble union between a man and woman."

The ruling Socialist party was swift in its criticism of the rally, saying in a statement that the Spanish Catholic church "has strayed from the fundamentals of democracy. …

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