Pope Benedict XVI visits Valencia, Spain

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Saturday, July 8, 2006

Pope Benedict XVI, with Spain's King Juan Carlos, waves to a cheering crowd upon his arrival at Manises airport, near Valencia, Spain, Saturday, July 8, 2006.

Pope Benedict XVI visited the city of Valencia in Spain. During his visit, he encouraged his followers in the country to defend traditional family values.

The government in Spain has introduced a number of reforms including gay marriage.

"It is a man and a woman who are made for each other and made to give humanity a future" said the Pope. "The family is a unique institution in God's plan, and the church cannot fail to proclaim and promote its fundamental importance," he said.

He arrived for a 24-hour visit and was met at an airport by King Juan Carlos, Queen Sofía, and Prime Minister José Luís Rodríguez Zapatero.

"The presence of your holiness brings great relief to everyone, especially to families who have lost loved ones," the king said in a welcoming speech.

The pope also met relatives of some of the underground crash victims. He prayed at the scene of a subway crash that killed 42 people on Monday. "We ask God's comfort for those who remain and those who left us," he said.

The pope will have a Mass tomorrow, which will close the visit. Zapatero said that he would not attend the mass on Sunday.

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