Pope in Spain urges Europe to keep spiritual roots

By Reuters Staff
November 6, 2010

pope 1

(Photo: Pope Benedict at  Santiago de Compostela Cathedral, November 6, 2010/Stefano Rellandini)

Pope Benedict, on a lightning trip to Spain, urged Europe on Saturday to re-discover God and its Christian heritage and also denounced the country’s liberal abortion laws.

“Europe must open itself to God, must come to meet him without fear,” he said in the sermon of a Mass for more than 20,000 people in the square of Santiago de Compostela, which has been a major pilgrimage destination since medieval times.

Spain’s Roman Catholic Church, whose image was stained by its close relationship with Francisco Franco during his 36-year dictatorship, has clashed with the Socialist government of Prime Minister Jose Luis Zapatero over gay rights and abortion. Read the full story by Cristina Fuentes-Cantillana in English here and in Spanish here.

One of the main themes of Benedict’s papacy — and an aim of the Spanish trip — has been what the Church calls the “re-evangelisation” of Europe, an attempt to urge people to return to their religious roots despite living in highly secularised societies.

censerUpon arrival on Saturday morning, the pope spoke of the need to defend “the most defenceless,” and in the afternoon he decried “public silence with regard to the first and essential reality of human life” — references to abortion. Click here for his sermon in Spanish or in English translation.

Santiago de Compostela, in northwestern Spain, has been a major pilgrimage destination since medieval times and is seen as a symbol of Europe’s Christian heritage.

(Photo: Pope Benedict watches the ‘botafumeiro’ as it’s swung by incense carriers inside Santiago de Compostela Cathedral, November 6, 2010/Stefano Rellandini)

While in the cathedral, he watched as the famous botafumeiro ( “smoke expeller”), one of the world’s largest censers or thuribles, swung from over the heads of the faithful to fill the nave with the aromatic smoke. The silver-covered incense burner weighs about 80 kg and measures 1.60 m in height.

Over at America magazine’s In All Things blog, Austen Ivereigh says it “was used in the Middle Ages to purify the air of the cathedral made disagreeable by stinking, sweaty pilgrims.  The first record of it appears in the world’s first tourist guide book, the 12th century Codex Calixtinus, which calls it a Turibulum Magnum.”

Follow FaithWorld on Twitter at RTRFaithWorld

3 comments

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/

Pope Benedict failed to give Past Popes enough credit for ordering the burning of over 50,000 jews, heretics and non Christians during the Great Inquisition.
That combined with modern day Priest molesting little boys and girls in the name of God is enough to scare anyone from going to Church.
I suggest that if Benedict really wants people to return to Church he ought repent on behalf of the Church for the Churche’s many sins.

Posted by Naksuthin | Report as abusive

[...] prepares to receive Pope Benedict America Magazine (subscription) (blog) Pope in Spain urges Europe to keep spiritual roots Reuters Blogs (blog) euronews [...]

Spain is the same country which took Christianity to the new world, today, it has legalized same sex marriages, there has been so much of change, it is difficult to believe that this nation once sacrificed its sons to honor its faith, country, respect, language and nation. Its the same nation that had the sprit of adventure and courage, I wonder what has happened?

Arvind Pereira
http://www.ArvindLeoPereira.co.nr

Posted by pereiraarvindin | Report as abusive

Naksuthin, you need to get your facts straight. First, there were nowhere near 50,000 people killed during the 500 years of the Inquisition. There are meticulously kept records of the trials and sentences. The actual number is around 6000. While inexcusable, this is a far cry from the estimated 100 million Hindus slaughter by the Muslims during their occupation of India during the same period of time. On average, the Inquisition sentenced 90% of people to “canonical penance.”[JEWISH historian Steven Katz] Of those convicted and sentenced to death many, as much as half, were sentenced to be burned in effigy. Pope John Paul II already issued a Papal apology, saying “Forgive us Lord, never again.”
Instead of concentrating on and exaggerating the sins of the Church in the past why don’t you look at the present evil? The Taliban executed more people in the infamous Kabul soccer field over three years than the Inquisition did in all of Europe over 500 years.
As for pedophile priests, that is also inexcusable, but then again look at the facts. The Church has removed those priests and subjected them to prosecution, yet in Islam it’s condoned through “marriage.” The Church has apologized and recognized the evil of the problem; Islam condones it. As a man who spends his life fighting the war on Terror, which is nothing less than a war against the 1500 years of Islamic jihad, I have a hard time understanding you people. Think for a moment who you’d rather live under, a fundamentalist Imam enforcing Sharia or western civilization? Think about that before you condemn the foundations of our society. Flint Wolfe

Posted by FlintWolfe | Report as abusive