A high-ranking Catholic official in Spain, speaking at a religious meeting earlier this month in Madrid, said abortion is a bigger problem than unemployment, adding to previous conservative family-oriented statements within the Spanish church claiming that the United Nations is attempting to turn the world gay.
Cardinal Archbishop Antonio Rouco Varela told gatherers at "Christian Family: the hope of Europe" that the government was attempting to undermine Christian family values and that the need to preserve those values is paramount.
The archbishop targeted abortion as a main culprit of family destruction.
"The family is under attack in Spain," Rouco said, adding that controversial issues like abortion and euthanasia presented more dire consequences for Europe than economic struggles.
Pope Benedict XVI issued a statement that was read at the event, defending the Catholic Church’s abortion views.
"Whoever refuses to defend a conceived but unborn person is committing a serious violation of moral order. The death of an innocent can never be legitimized. To do so is to undermine the basis of society," the statement read.
In addition to life issues, the Spanish Catholic Church has also had members speak out against homosexuality.
Demetrio Fernández, Bishop of Córdoba, told his congregation in December that the U.N. is actively trying to turn world communities gay.
"The Minister for Family of the Papal Government, Cardinal Antonelli, told me a few days ago in Zaragoza that UNESCO has a program for the next 20 years to make half the world population homosexual," Fernández said. "To do this they have distinct programs, and will continue to implant the ideology that is already present in our schools."
Amidst changes to Spain’s abortion laws, which now permits women to undergo abortions freely within the first 14 weeks of pregnancy, the pope and Spanish church officials have said Spain, and Europe, are in the throes of a culture war – and that the Catholic Church is under direct attack.
"The clash between faith and modernity is happening again, and it is very strong today," the pope told reporters following a religious summit in Spain last year.
In a speech following the abortion decision, The Pope Benedict added that Europe needs to be concerned "not only with people's material needs but also with their moral and social, spiritual and religious needs, since all these are genuine requirements of our common humanity."
Spanish gay rights and pro-choice groups have denounced the Catholic Church’s decision by protesting across the country, including a "kiss-in" – an event organized on Facebook that led gay couples to kiss as a form of protest during Benedict's trip to Santiago, Spain in June of 2010.
There is strong Spanish sentiment against lax abortion laws, as between 130,000 and 160,000 people flooded Madrid early last year to protest legislative changes.