Pope Benedict seized an opportunity following a massive Mass in Portugal yesterday to slam abortion and gay marriage as among the "most insidious and dangerous challenges that today confront the common good." Some 500,000 people turned out to participate in the Mass at one of Catholicism's holiest shrines in Fatima, a turnout Vatican officials say proves that the abuse scandals haven't deterred the faithful.
Benedict later hailed Catholics' efforts to promote a family model based on an "indissoluble marriage between a man and woman," and called opposition to abortion and same-sex marriages "essential elements in the building of the civilization of love," AP reports. Fatima became a shrine after the Virgin Mary allegedly appeared to shepherd children there in 1917 and revealed visions of the future. The "third secret" reportedly concerned the attempted assassination of Pope John Paul II, and, Benedict hinted yesterday, other troubles currently facing the church. (Read more gay marriage stories.)