POPE Ratzinger has criticised an “aggressive” anti-church sentiment that he said is flourishing in Spain when he arrived on a two-day visit to the country this weekend.
According to this report, he said the anti-clericalism being felt today in Spain harks back to the 1930s when the church suffered a wave of violence and ill feeling as the country lurched from an unstable democracy to civil war.
Speaking en route to Santiago de Compostela, he said he had created a new Vatican office to fight such secular trends worldwide.
He said Spain was a particular focus since it had played such an important role in reviving Christianity in centuries past.
In Spain, a strong, aggressive laicity, an anti-clericalism, a secularisation has been born as we experienced in the 1930s.
But the Vatican’s chances of recapturing Spain are virtually zilch.
According to this report, the number of 20- to 24-year-olds who define themselves as practising Catholics in Spain is just seven percent, with a further 51 percent saying they are non-practising Catholics. Civil weddings outnumbered church weddings for the first time last year.
The “queer kissing flashmob” campaign briefly ran into trouble when Facebook erased the page.
A Facebook spokesman explained why the page had been taken down, then restored:
The Spanish team took down the event and pages because of the use of the slur ‘queer’. Since the term was used in a self-referential manner – the only instance in which we allow slurs against protected collectives – Facebook have reinstated both the event and the page.
One of the organisers, Marylene Carole, said:
When Benedict XVI passes in front of us we will kiss, man-to-man and woman-to-woman. Once the kiss is over we will go on our way as if nothing had happened.