Pope met by gay protesters in Spain

About 200 people protest against Pope Benedict XVI's visit to Barcelona by jeering and staging a gay "kiss-in."

Pontiff defends traditional families

About 200 people protested against Pope Benedict  XVI's visit to Barcelona on Sunday by jeering and staging a gay "kiss-in."

Pope Benedict XVI consecrated La Sagrada Familia, designed by Barcelona architect Antoni Gaudi. ((Stefano Rellandini/Reuters) )

The protest by gays and lesbians took place as Benedict was being driven in his bullet-proof popemobile to celebrate mass at the city's iconic basilica, La Sagrada Familia (Holy Family).

The Pope did not react to the gay-kiss demonstration near the church, and the protesters were outnumbered by thousands of flag-waving supporters of the pontiff.

During the mass, Benedict attacked Spain's laws legalizing abortion and gay marriage.

"The generous, indissoluble love of a man and a woman is the effective context and the foundation of human life in its gestation in the birth and growth and its natural end," said the Pope, on his second visit to Spain since he was elected, .

He criticized policies allowing for abortions, saying "the life of children [must] be defended as sacred and inviolable from the moment of their conception."

The Pope has drawn criticism for remarks he made on his flight to Spain on Saturday, when he said the country was going through a period of "aggressive" secularism reminiscent of the 1930s, when the church suffered violent persecution as Spain lurched from an unstable democracy to civil war.

During his homily Sunday, Benedict praised the man who designed the church of the Sagrada Familia.

The soaring Art Nouveau marvel was designed by Barcelona architect Antoni Gaudi, a staunch Catholic who dedicated his life to the project but died in 1926, only a few years after it had begun.

With files from The Associated Press