June 19, 2013
Pope arrives in Spain for visit in the midst of protests
Pope Benedict XVI arrived today in Spain begging a four-day visit to Madrid to attend World Youth Day, a congregation of more than one million Catholics that the pontiff is expected to use to reaffirm the importance and influence of his church among younger members of society, said the News York times today.
Thousands of protesters marched in Madrid yesterday evening against the cost of the Pope’s visit to Spain this week at a time of growing public anxiety and economic hardship in the country. Protesters of all ages walked in the old city centre under the slogan ‘Nothing for the Pope from my taxes’, as hundreds of thousands of young people gather in the capital of the mainly Catholic country to celebrate World Youth Day this weekend.
“It is costing a lot of money for the Spanish state which is going through a bad period,” said 55-year old Rosa Vazquez, carrying a placard saying ‘Religion is the opium of the people, don’t drug yourself with our taxes’.
The cost of the papal visit has triggered heavy criticism at a time of economic hardship in Spain from disaffected youths, as well as gay and lesbian and transgender groups, atheists and even some priests.
The pope’s visit culminates with an open-air mass on Sunday celebrated by Pope Benedict XVI.