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The recent visit of Pope Benedict XVI to Spain exposed the schizophrenic psyche of the Spanish nation. While more than a million faithful Spaniards, including King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia, attended the pope’s valedictory Mass in Valencia, the country’s prime minister, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, publicly snubbed the pope and the Church by ostentatiously staying away. Since being elected, Zapatero’s socialist government has declared war on the traditional family, giving "marriage" and adoption rights to homosexuals and relaxing divorce laws. The pope, in a clear attack on such policies, gave a homily praising the traditional family, condemning the "excessive exaltation of the freedom of the individual," and calling upon Spain’s Catholics to unite in the "promotion of the authentic good of the family in contemporary society."

Pope Benedict’s words resonate powerfully in a nation that endured a bloody civil war seventy years ago, during which Spain was divided between those desiring Christian tradition and those demanding Socialist revolution. Before that war was over, the socialists, of whom Zapatero is proud to be an ideological heir, had murdered 12 bishops, 4,184 priests, 2,365 monks, and about 300 nuns. Churches were burned and George Orwell recorded of Barcelona that "almost every church had been gutted and its images burned." The war continues in the hearts and minds of modern Europeans, and the very future of Europe itself is at stake. The pope knows this, which is why he chose the name Benedict, the forger of the first vision of Christian Europe. Zapatero knows this too; the crucial difference is that he desires the desecration and destruction of Christian Europe. The choice is a simple one: It is between the pope’s benedictus and Zapatero’s curse.

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