Barcelona, Spain (CNN) — Pope Benedict XVI defended religion from critics Sunday as he dedicated the Sagrada Familia church, a still-unfinished emblem of the Spanish city of Barcelona.
“This is the great task before us: to show everyone that God is a God of peace not of violence, of freedom not of coercion, of harmony not of discord,” he said.
And he pushed back against what he sees as increasing secularism in the world, saying, “I consider that the dedication of this church of the Sagrada Familia is an event of great importance, at a time in which man claims to be able to build his life without God, as if God had nothing to say to him.”
He also defended the traditional family, after Spain’s Socialist government legalized same-sex marriage.
“The generous and indissoluble love of a man and a woman is the effective context and foundation of human life in its gestation, birth, growth and natural end,” he said.
After a recent UN report showed that some of the most healthy societies in the world are highly secular ones, Pope Benedict repeats his call for less secularism.
It’s also interesting how the Vatican still considers Spain to be more than 92 percent Catholic when according to a recent government survey, “just 74 percent of Spaniards still consider themselves Catholics, and only two in 10 regularly attend mass.”