Pope Benedict XVI defended religion from critics Sunday as he dedicated the Sagrada Familia church, a still-unfinished emblem of the Spanish city of Barcelona.
"This is the great task before us: to show everyone that God is a God of peace not of violence, of freedom not of coercion, of harmony not of discord," he said.
And he pushed back against what he sees as increasing secularism in the world, saying, "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."
He also defended the traditional family, after Spain's Socialist government legalized same-sex marriage.
"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," he said.
Spain's King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia were in the full-to-overflowing church as the pope poured oil on the altar and rubbed it in with his hand, then swung incense over it.