On Sunday, Pope Francis delivered a blessing to a huge crowd of Roman Catholics attending an open air mass and rally in Madrid. The event was organized to show support for a recent proposal, made by Spain’s conservative government, to restrict abortions.
The Pontiff, Time magazine’s 2013 Man of the Year, addressed the crowd in a live video link broadcast from his regular weekly Angelus prayer, delivered from St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican.
According to the Associated Press, on Sunday, Madrid’s Roman Catholic Archbishop Antonio Maria Rouco Varela told the crowd, estimated in the tens of thousands, that “‘the gift of life’ should be considered sacred and not tampered with.”
The annual outdoor masses affirming traditional Roman Catholic values became popular during the administration of Spain’s Socialist Prime Minister Jose Luis Zapatero, who legalized gay marriage and limited restrictions on abortions. Zapatero was in power from 2004 to 2011.
In 2011, the conservative Popular Party defeated Zapatero’s Socialists, and Mariano Rajoy was named prime minister. On December 20, his administration “announced . . . it would roll back a 2010 law that had allowed women to opt freely for abortion in the first 14 weeks of pregnancy.” The proposal still requires passage in Spain’s Parliament before it becomes law, but the Popular Party holds a majority there.
According to the Spanish publication El Pais, Archbishop Rouco Varela told the crowd this 2010 abortion law “has placed deep obstacles in the way of basic family values and prevented its natural growth.”
Many Spanish Roman Catholics who attended Sunday’s mass in Madrid’s Plaza de Colon indicated they wanted further restrictions on abortion, if not a complete prohibition.
Ignacio Gonzalez, a 49-year-old father of six, said, “The new abortion law does not go far enough; it is still possible to have an abortion.”
In America, many left-wing Democrats and mainstream media outlets who have lionized Pope Francis for what they have presented as his “redistributionist” views on economics continue to selectively ignore his stalwart opposition to abortion.