Spain stands firm on gay marriage plans despite Vatican
June 22, 2004
MADRID — Spain stood its ground Monday amid criticism by Pope John Paul
II of plans by Spain's new socialist government to allow easier
abortion and permit gay marriages ahead of a meeting later between
the pope and the Spanish premier.
Pope John Paul II hands over a gift to Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero during a private audience at the Vatican, 21 June 2004|
Photo - AFP
Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos, when asked
about the criticism, said the Vatican "must realise there is a new
government" in Spain.
Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero is to meet
the 84-year-old head of the Roman Catholic Church at the Vatican
later Monday accompanied by Moratinos, who has described himself as
a practising Roman Catholic.
"We are going there with the will to listen but the Vatican must
realise there is a new government and that this new government has
positions, of course respecting the Catholic Church, but also very
firm on questions that the majority of Spanish citizens want to see
changed," Moratinos said.
The pope, a strong defender of conservative family values,
delivered the criticisms on Friday to the new Spanish ambassador,
Jorge Dezcallar de Mazarredo, who presented his credentials at the
"Political authorities, as guarantors of the rights of all, are
obliged to defend life, particularly that of the weakest and most
defenseless," the pope had told the ambassador.
He 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 "who 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."
John Paul II also directly criticized Madrid'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. – Sapa-AFP
Pope condemns abortion, gay marriage plans in Spain [21/06/2004]