The Pope is visiting Spain on his second trip there since becoming leader of the Roman Catholic Church.
Another trip is planned for next year, such is the importance the church places on Spain, where over 70 per cent of people still describe themselves as Catholics.
But only just over 14 per cent regularly attend mass. A decade of reforms on divorce, abortion and gay rights has eroded religious influence, and the church has loudly expressed its concern.
Greeted on arrival by the Crown Prince and Princess, Pope Benedict begins his trip in Saint Jacques de Compostella. On Sunday, he will move on to Barcelona where, 128 years after construction began, he will consecrate Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia as a cathedral.