In his address to the Spanish Bishops Conference meeting this week in Madrid, Conference president Cardinal Antonio Maria Rouco said the principal issue that the bishops need to face is the "internal secularization which is afflicting life of the Church herself."
Addressing the Apostolic Nuncio and the Spanish bishops, Cardinal Rouco recalled the last visit of Pope John Paul to Spain, the aftermath of the election of a new government, the issue of government policy on education, the possible recognition of homosexual unions and the law on abortion.
Referring to the terrorist attacks of 3-11, the Cardinal said that "appealing to religious motives as justification for terrorism is especially scandalous and perverse," but at the same time he warned against falling into generalized accusations against Islamic people.
Regarding homosexual unions, Cardinal Rouco said they can never be given the same social status as marriage and the family. "It's not about denying legitimate rights to anybody, but rather about a complete and coherent defense of the rights of the family."
Cardinal Rouco said the Church today is the principal defender of the right to life of all human beings, in particular of those most vulnerable.
According to the Cardinal, the 80,000 abortions that have taken place in Spain over the last year should be cause for "true alarm in society because of what they mean in and of themselves and because they indicate a lack of moral sensibility." "This is not something peculiar to Catholics but rather a question of basic humanity and of great transcendence for the future as well," he added.
Cardinal Rouco also mentioned the question of Church-State separation, saying the right to religious freedom means that on the one hand, "no human power" should be allowed to prevent the free exercise of religious beliefs, and on the other, that "conditions in which persons and religious communities can live out their lives in accord with their beliefs, both in private and in public, must be positively and equitably favored."