Cardinal Antonio María Rouco said Sunday that Spain’s traditional Christian families were being threatened by “a culture of sadness,” including a “bothersome environment generated by intellectuals and the media.”
Speaking in his homily during an outdoor Mass held in Colón square in Madrid, which was dedicated to the day of the Holy Family, Rouco told thousands of church-goers that for “the chronically and terminally ill, the unemployed,” and “youths who have succumbed to alcohol, drugs and wild sex,” “there was no other place” like the family unit to seek refuge and help.
Rouco’s address was less political in its tone this year compared to previous Holy Family Day services. Without mentioning the conservative government’s current proposal to curtail the abortion law, the 77-year-old cardinal, who also serves as the archbishop of Madrid, said that an environment exists whereby “not even the gift of life is understood as being something definite and inviolable.”
The cardinal, who is waiting for official word from the Vatican to accept his resignation now that he has passed the official retirement age of 75, thanked the other archbishops from around the country who came to Colón square in central Madrid for the service.
During his Sunday Angelus, Pope Francis I issued special greetings to the “people from various parts of the world” who were in Madrid to attend the Mass. The pope also mentioned a similar Mass that was held in Barcelona and presided by Cardinal Lluis Martínez Sistach.
People began gathering in Colón Plaza hours before the Mass was to begin, braving the 5ºC to 7ºC temperatures.
“We came here in support of the family, in which we believe,” said Juanjo, a 29-year-old father from Madrid. “This society plays down the family but I believe that it is the best unit to instill values that improve people and society as a whole.”