La Sagrada Familia Finally Consecrated
Pope Benedict XVI achieved what he set out to do last weekend by consecrating Barcelona's La Sagrada Familia Church a mere 128 years after the first brick was laid. (Work on the spires still continues however and it is hoped that this will be finished by 2026, to mark the centenary of Antoni Gaudi's death).
During the ceremony the walls of La Sagrada Familia were anointed with chrism oil, and incense was burned at the altar. Speaking in praise of the church, the Pope said that "it stands as a visible sign of the invisible God, to whose glory these spires rise like arrows pointing towards absolute light and to the One who is Light, Height and Beauty itself."
Whilst he also praised the architect saying that, by uniting nature with the divine, Gaudi "brilliantly helped to build our human consciousness, anchored in the world yet open to God, enlightened and sanctified by Christ."
Pope Benedict went on to say that the great task before Christians is "to show everyone that God is a God of peace not of violence, of freedom not of coercion, of harmony not of discord. In this sense, I consider that the dedication of this church of the Sagrada Familia is an event of great importance, at a time in which man claims to be able to build his life without God, as if God had nothing to say to him."
Meanwhile 200 protesters had gathered to form a gay kissing protest, but the head of the Catholic Church only had this unencouraging message for them: "The generous and indissoluble love of a man and a woman is the effective context and foundation of human life in its gestation, birth, growth and natural end." Although it was slightly more polite than some of the messages that the protesters had for him!
Spain's King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia were in attendance at the packed ceremony.