BARCELONA, Spain, NOV. 7, 2010 (Zenit.org).- When Benedict XVI dedicated Barcelona’s Church of the Sagrada Familia (Holy Family), he did so with a “special intensity,” aware of the significance of the event, says a Vatican spokesman.
Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, the director of the Vatican’s press office, said this today at a press conference held after the Pope consecrated the altar of the church, which he also declared a minor basilica.
The spokesman remarked that the Holy Father was surprised by the warm reception he received when he arrived Saturday night in Barcelona, and the number of faithful who celebrated all night long with cheers and songs outside the archbishop’s palace, where the Pontiff spent the night.
The Holy Father had a “very positive impression” of his visit to Spain, said Father Lombardi, who added that Benedict XVI’s visit with the king and queen of Spain, Juan Carlos I and Sophía, in the Basilica of the Sagrada Familia was “very informal, not at all political.”
Before the press conference, Father Lombardi gave an analysis of the dedication of the Basilica of the Sagrada Familia for Vatican Radio, defining it as “truly extraordinary for the environment in which it unfolded.”
“This temple, very original but also with a truly great wealth of meanings and symbols, is an entire universe of the Christian life,” he said.
In the Mass of dedication, Benedict XVI noted how Gaudí was inspired by “the three books which nourished him as a man, as a believer and as an architect: the book of nature, the book of sacred Scripture and the book of the liturgy.”
“In this way,” the Pope continued, the Spanish architect “brought together the reality of the world and the history of salvation, as recounted in the Bible and made present in the liturgy.”
Father Lombardi said that Gaudí’s vision is something “one really sees” when entering the Church.
“I believe that the Pope, who is also a great scholar of the liturgy, undertook this celebration with a special intensity, because it is a celebration that expresses so many dimensions: that of the community of the Church inserted, nature inserted, into salvation history,” the spokesman added.
Father Lombardi said that Benedict XVI had dedicated other churches, but “whose dimensions and significance were, naturally, not the same as this.”
“Through this celebration he was truly able to express what seem to me to be the principle points of this trip, that is, the Primacy of God,” the spokesman said.
In the dedication of the Basilica of the Holy Family of Nazareth the “reference to the family [was] spontaneous,” Father Lombardi continued. “This issue is very relevant at the moment and it was natural for the Pope to refer to it.”
“This too is one of the great themes of his pontificate,” he added, “continually stressing this Christian vision of man that in the family has its absolutely fundamental basis for building society, for the complete development of the human person, for the welcoming of life.”