Spain: Thousands turn out for pro-life MassA pro-life Mass drew thousands of people to central Madrid on Sunday to hear the case for the traditional family in a country drifting from its Roman Catholic roots.
Although city officials and police would not give an official estimate of the number of people present, the Associated Press said the crowd in the Plaza de Colon appeared to number in the hundreds of thousands.
In a message played at the start of the service, Pope Benedict XVI appealed to families to keep their love strong.
"Dear families, do not let love, openness to life and the incomparable links that join your homes weaken," he said.
He added, "The pope is by your side.”
The Mass was joined by the Archbishop of Madrid, Antonio Maria Rouco Varela, who told the crowd that “the future of humanity depends on the family, the Christian family”.
"It is possible to conceive, organise and live marriage and family in a very different way from what is in fashion in so many areas of our society," he said in a homily.
More than 300 priests, 22 bishops and five more archbishops also attended the Mass.The Roman Catholic Church has been a fierce advocate of the traditional family in the face of Spain’s liberal Socialist Government, which has legalised gay civil unions and introduced measures making it easier to divorce.