Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone will be in Spain through Thursday. He told the Italian daily "Avvenire" that "I have been invited by the episcopal conference to deliver a conference on the 60 years of the Declaration of Human Rights; as well, I will have a meeting too with the king of Spain, the prime minister and other political exponents."

The cardinal said he would try "to explain that rights are something serious, based in natural law, and cannot be confused with desires."

Asked about tensions between the Church and the Spanish government, the secretary of state said that "the will to dialogue is a positive sign."

"Catholics traditionally respect legitimately established political power," he added. "And the Church is always ready for a fruitful collaboration with authorities, in the context of a healthy secularity. Obviously one cannot stay silent if we see that in some way the principles of natural law or the liberty of the Church are undermined."