- Jul 26, 2007
BBC News - Pope Benedict XVI sees 'aggressive secularism' in SpainPope Benedict XVI has warned of an "aggressive anti-clericalism" in Spain which he said was akin to that experienced during the 1930s.
He arrived in the pilgrimage city of Santiago de Compostela at the beginning of a two-day visit to Spain.
"The clash between faith and modernity is happening again, and it is very strong today," he told reporters on the plane, quoted by AFP news agency.
He is due to celebrate an open-air mass and then travel to Barcelona on Sunday.
"Spain saw in the 1930s the birth of a strong and aggressive anti-clericalism," Pope Benedict said.
He urged a "meeting between faith and secularism and not a confrontation" in Spain and the rest of Europe.
This is Benedict's second visit during his papacy, and a third visit is planned next year for World Youth Day, a sign of how important the Vatican considers the health of the church in Spain.
Only 14.4% of Spaniards regularly attend mass, and legal changes to allow divorce, gay marriage and abortion have caused concern to the Catholic Church.
But 73% of Spaniards still define themselves as Catholic.
Benedict is more desperate than FF to cling to power. Well done Spain for rejecting Roman rule.