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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, August 26, 2011 - Volume 39 Issue 34
Acts of God shut down pope's anti-Gay sermon
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Acts of God shut down pope's anti-Gay sermon

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

An anti-Gay sermon by Pope Benedict XVI was interrupted by a windstorm and torrential rains on August 20 at a Spanish air force base near Madrid.

The wind was so intense that it shook the stage, blew off Benedict's zucchetto - the trademark white skullcap worn by popes - and knocked over a tent set up to shelter the audience.

The pope ran for cover, abandoning his homily on the sanctity of marriage, with his entourage trailing behind.

The pope was in Spain for the annual World Youth Day festival for young Roman Catholics. According to a Vatican spokesman, some 1.5 million pilgrims had gathered for the festival.

The pope's appearance also drew protests by more than 100 organizations - ranging from LGBT rights activists to socialists and 'Indignants' protesting the Spanish government's expenditures on a papal visit in a time of economic crisis.

The pope was speaking on one of his favorite themes - marriage between one man and one woman - when the storm drove him from the stage.

'The Lord calls many people to marriage, in which a man and a woman, in becoming one flesh, find fulfillment in a profound life of communion,' the pope said.

'For this reason, to acknowledge the beauty and goodness of marriage is to realize that only a setting of fidelity and indissolubility, along with an openness to God's gift of love, is adequate to the grandeur and dignity of marital love.'

The Roman Catholic Church has condemned the sweeping reforms brought in by Spain's Socialist government in recent years, including marriage equality, reproductive choice, and fast-track divorce.

Catholic opposition to reforms has angered many Spaniards, straight as well as Gay.

The municipal government of Barcelona recently set up a monument to LGBT victims of oppression in the center of their city, near the iconic Sagrada Familia (Holy Family) Cathedral.

On his previous visit to Spain last November, the pope raised Sagrada Familia to the status of a basilica and used the occasion to preach a sermon against same-sex marriage.

Though the pope was unable to complete his August 20 homily, Vatican officials said that the content of his entire speech was still valid and could be published as if it had been delivered in full.

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