Pope attacks abortion, defends "love of a man and a woman"
Pope Benedict XVI Sunday sanctified a world monument to family, Barcelona's Sagrada Familia church, launching an attack on abortion and a defence of the love of a "man and a woman."
In a clear reference to abortion just four months after Spain passed laws easing women's access to the operation, the 83-year-old pontiff said the Church "resists every form of denial of human life".
Only love and faith could lead to true freedom, said the pope, draped in a golden vestement and mytre and adressing 6,500 faithful in the colossal main nave of the church, tranformed by his blessing into a Basilica.
"For this reason the Church resists every form of denial of human life and gives its support to everything that would promote the natural order in the sphere of the institution of the family," he said in a reference to the Church opposition to all abortion.
The Church called for social and economic help for women to develop at home and work, and for men and women who marry to form a family with "decisive support from the state," he said.
He urged "that the life of children may be defended as sacred and inviolable from the moment of their conception, that the reality of birth be given due respect and receive juridical, social and legislative support."
The pope, who was faced by a gay kiss-in protest as he travelled to the Sagrada Familia in his transparent "popemobile", also defended the traditional pairing of man and woman.
"There also need to be moral advances, such as in care, protection and assistance to families, inasmuch as 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."
Some 6,500 guests including hundreds of priests and bishops witnessed the consecration of the building, where work continues 128 years after the first stone was laid.
They sat in the vast nave, surrounded by a forest of white tree-like columns rising 60 metres up, splitting into branches and then spreading into a ceiling of leaves crackled with gold and green mosaic.
Light showered through the stone canopy and down to the nave from orbs open to the sky.
With the consecration, the main nave is open for daily mass for the first time since the first stone was laid March 19, 1882. Until now mass has been held in the crypt, Gaudi's last resting place.
Building could still take another 15 years at least, with 10 more spires to be constructed, including the central tower crowned by a cross reaching up 170 metres (560 feet), the main Glory facade, and the sacristies.
© 2010 AFP