MADRID — Tens of thousands of people have celebrated a Mass honoring the family as a building block of Christianity in downtown Madrid.
The outdoor service under bright blue skies in Colon square was conducted by Archbishop Antonio Rouco Varela on Sunday with the backing of the conservative opposition Popular Party.
The Roman Catholic Church has in recent years baulked at Spain's rapid transition from a once-staunchly Catholic nation to one of Europe's most liberal.
The Vatican has sternly opposed the Socialist government-led transformation, which has ushered in gay marriage, fast-track divorce and allowed easier abortions.
Pope Benedict XVI conveyed his blessing from Rome via a video link and the three kings made an appearance riding camels.