A campaign orchestrated by gay activists on Facebook to embarrass Pope Benedict XVI on his 32-hour visit to Spain was regarded as a bit of a damp squib on Sunday night when it failed to live up to media hype and pre publicity.
Gay protestors failed to catch the Pope’s eye
Bizarrely and some might say offensively entitled “Queer Kissing Flashmob” the idea had been for thousands of homosexual and lesbian couples to stage a two minute long peaceful ‘kiss-in’ in front of Barcelona’s imposing gothic church of La Sagrada Familia.
As the Pope exited the premises after delivering his service the kiss-in was supposed to commence. Despite a promise to attendant media that as many as 12,000 gay activists would support the initiative, in reality only 200 appeared on the day. By contrast an estimated 250,000 Spanish citizens poured on to the streets of Barcelona hoping to see the pontiff. Seemingly oblivious to the huddle of kissing couples, the elderly man was bustled into his pope mobile and happily set off waving to the adoring throng.
But the Pope, whose hard hitting speech at La Sagrada Familia church focused on family values and condemned Spain’s “aggressive secularism,” managed to upset a number of groups aside from the homosexual lobby. He once again piously reminded women of their duties to the family conceding that they could work while caring for the home but he expressed total disapproval of divorce and abortion.
Despite the fact that 76 per cent of Spaniards consider themselves Catholic, many admitted to resenting the €3.7 to €5 million of tax payers money purportedly spent on security and logistics for the papal visit. Critics claimed that it was a shameful waste of government funds when the country was in economic meltdown with 20 per cent of the population unemployed. The Archbishop of Barcelona countered that at least €500,000 had been raised from public donations towards security for the Pope’s visit.
I wonder if the pensioner Pope ever wearies of his post and sometimes feels the urge to throw in the towel in the face of constant criticism. But then again, as he surveyed the packed crowds in Barcelona on his flying visit to Spain, he most likely convinced himself that if a quarter of a million people turned out just to glimpse him, he must have been doing something right.
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