Spain now has a liberal and socialist government. The once Christian and Catholic nation may be waking up to the sifting moral landscape under their feet. Spain was long one of Europe’s most conservative countries, but has undergone a remarkable liberal transformation in the three decades since the death of former dictator General Francisco Franco.
In two months, the nation will face general elections. The Socialist government which has legalized gay marriage and made divorce easier is seeking an extension of their term. Many Spaniards are not happy about the way the new trends may impact the traditional family. In the center of Madrid, some organizers say 1.5 million people packed Colon Square and the surrounding streets.
A live video link allowed an address by Pope Benedict. Liberals dismissed the gathering as Catholic demonstration. Organizers met under the shadow of Colon Square’s huge Spanish flag a short walk from the gay bars of Madrid’s Chueca district. They listened as Pope Benedict described marriage as being “founded in the indissoluble union between man and woman, it is the place in which human life is sheltered and protected from its beginning until its natural end.”
Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero has an opinion poll lead of two percentage points over the opposition consisting of a strongly Catholic and conservative Popular Party. The elections are March 9, 2008.
Spanish social attitudes are now among the most liberal in Europe. Church attendance has fallen steeply and families are shrinking due to one of the world’s lowest birthrates. Young, liberal voters gave Zapatero the surprise victory in the last general election in 2004. The liberal social policies implemented have been calculated to appeal to the same demographic.
Pray for Spain. Pray for its young people.
Adapted from a report by Jason Webb, released by Reuters. http://uk.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idUKL3019948220071230