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    Controversy dogs Pope's visit to Sagrada Familia

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    ODN

    by ODN

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    Pope Benedict XVI has attacked Spain's legalisation of abortion and gay marriage during a Mass to consecrate Barcelona's famous church, the Sagrada Familia.


    The second day of the Pontiff's visit also saw dozens of gay and lesbian couples protest by kissing publicly as the Pope's calvacade toured the Catalan capital.


    In front of a packed church the Holy Father clearly criticised gay marriage, saying, "The generous, indissoluble love of a man and a woman is the effective context and the foundation of human life in its gestation in the birth and growth and its natural end,"


    Spain's legalisation of abortion and gay marriage have stoked tensions with the Vatican, although the government downplayed friction during the visit.


    Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero promoted the legalisation of gay marriage, including adoption rights, and a law allowing abortion on demand for women 16 years and older during the first 14 weeks of pregnancy.


    Despite the row huge crowds lined the road outside the Sagrada Familia church and cheered as the Pope arrived.


    In Sunday's Mass the pontiff praised the church, which when completed will have 18 soaring towers representing important figures of Christianity as well as intricate sculptures detailing Jesus's life.


    Famed architect Antoni Gaudi died in 1926 and construction has slowly continued ever since, funded only by visitor admission fees and donations.