Well Over One Million Spaniards Demonstrate for Marriage and Family
By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman
MADRID, January 3, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Between one and two million people gathered in Madrid’s Colón Plaza and surrounding streets on December 30th to affirm the values of marriage and family, and to protest the socialist government’s attacks on the institution.
The gathering, held only three months before Spain’s presidential elections, was addressed by Pope Benedict XVI by video link from St. Peter’s Square, where he told the crowds that "the family, founded on marriage, an indissoluble communion of man and woman, is the sphere where the life of man is protected."
"It is worthwhile to work for family and marriage," said the Pontiff, "because it is worthwhile to work for man."
The Pope also observed that "parents have the fundamental obligation to educate their children in the faith," and said that through their marriage, couples are "the testimony in the world" of the love of Christ for mankind.
The gigantic rally, which was called the "Encuentro de las Familias" (Family Encounter) was held in response to the anti-family policies of Spain’s socialist government, led by José Rodríguez Zapatero. The Zapatero regime has instituted "homosexual marriage" and has mandated a school indoctrination program that teaches students to accept homosexual behavior. In addition, the socialist government of the Province of Catalonia has officially joined an international homosexual organization which previously lost its UN recognition for promoting pedophilia (see previous LifeSiteNews coverage at http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2007/oct/07103009.html).
Spain has also experienced a skyrocketing abortion rate in recent years, and in the last month the Spanish media has reported numerous cases of illegal late term abortions. One Spanish news channel, Intereconomía, has actually broadcast footage of two late term abortions and showed viewers the chopped up remains of children at over five months gestation. Several abortion clinics in Barcelona and Madrid have been shut down and several doctors and clinic personnel, including Spain’s "Abortion King" Carlos Morín, are being prosecuted.
Although the government of Madrid estimated that one million people had participated in the event, and organizers gave an estimate of two million, the international mainstream media repeatedly chose to report that "hundreds of thousands" or even "tens of thousands" had come. Others claimed that no attendance figures were available. No explanation was given by the agencies, which included Reuters and the Associated Press, for deflating the official figures.
In addition to the multitudes who came from Madrid and other Spanish cities, forty Catholic bishops attended the rally, which was lead by the Cardinal Archbishop of Madrid, Antonio María Rouco. Rouco blasted Spain’s current government for its anti-family policies, warning that "principles and lifestyles opposed to indissoluble marriage and the transmission of life" are "favored by the existing laws" in Spain.
"The origin and purpose of marriage, its constitutive elements and its principles are predetermined by God through the natural law," Rouco said to the crowd. Neither private groups nor government, he said, "may manipulate those principles and essential elements at their pleasure."
"There’s no time to lose!" said Rouco passionately. "The Christian response to this crucial question for our future, of Spain, and of all humanity is urgent!"
The President of Spain’s Episcopal Conference, Bishop Ricardo Blázquez, told the multitude that "the family is a treasure" and added that "in this encounter we want truth, beauty, and the greatness of marriage and family to shine."
"The family is traditional, because it has its roots in the very nature of humanity," he said. "It is ancient and new, its validity is of yesterday, today, and tomorrow. The measure of its truth is its permanence."
The Cardinal Archbishop of Toledo, Antonio Cañizares, said that Spain’s family is threatened by "unjust and evil laws."
Spain’s ruling socialist party responded in a statement entitled, "Everything in its Place," claiming "respect" for such expressions of public opinion, but defending its policies and promising that "we won’t take a single step back."
"We will continue working to ensure that Spanish citizens are freer and have more rights, and so that, at the same time, that our society is increasingly more respectful and tolerant," said the party, referring to its "gay marriage" policy.
** To see many YouTube videos showing rally speakers and revealing massive size of rally. Go to http://www.youtube.com/ and the search window enter POR LA FAMILIA CRISTIANA
Related LifeSiteNews.com coverage:
FULL ABORTIONS SHOWN ON SPANISH TELEVISION - FIRST IN HISTORY
Thousands of Spanish Families Boycott Homosexual Indoctrination Program
Legal Status of Catholic Church in Spain Threatened over Opposition to Mandatory Pro-Gay Citizenship Course
Spain’s Gay "Marriage" Law Comes into Effect