Pope condemns abortion, gay marriage plans in Spain

June 21, 2004

Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero
Photo - AFP
VATICAN CITY — Condemning plans by the new Socialist government in Spain to allow easier abortion and permit gay marriages, Pope John Paul II on Friday set the scene for a tense meeting next week with Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero.

"Political authorities, as guarantors of the rights of all, are obliged to defend life, particularly that of the weakest and most defenseless," the pope told the new Spanish ambassador, Jorge Dezcallar de Mazarredo, who presented his credentials at the Vatican.

The pope also urged the government not to give way "to those who seem to confuse marriage with other forms of union that are completely different and even opposed to marriage."

Referring to proposals to allow gays to adopt children, the pope fulminated against those "show seem to see children as simple objects of their own personal satisfaction."

Among the rights of the family, the pope said, "is that of being able to be born in a stable home, where the words father and mother can be pronounced with joy and without deception."

The pontiff also directly criticized the government's proposals to end obligatory religious education in public schools. He said parents had the right to expect that their children could be assured of a religious education in public as well as in private Catholic schools.

The 84-year-old pope, a strong defender of conservative family values, attacked as "incoherent" certain modern tendencies – abortion in particular – that he said aimed to promote personal well-being while denying human dignity and basic rights.

"True social conquests are those that assure the promotion and the defence of the life of all, and, at the same time, the general good of society," he said.

In Spain, the Roman Catholic hierarchy has been sharply critical of the government's plans. Zapatero is due to meet the pope at the Vatican on Monday. – AFP

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Gay marriages issue sparks row in Spain [06/01/2004]



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