Thousands of people have attended a religious mass in central Madrid for the start of the Roman Catholic “World Youth Day” festival.
And lavish preparations are underway for the arrival of Pope Benedict on Thursday.
However not everyone is welcoming the one million of so Catholics expected to participate in the event. The problem is the cost for Spain in these times if economic strife.
While organisers say the visiting pilgrims will generate up to 100 million euros for the state, critics say that will be offset by the same amount needed to pay for police and security.
Others say the money spent on the Pope’s participation could be better spent on education or the homeless.
Hours before the Pope’s arrival, a major protest is to be staged supported by the so called “Indignant ones”, pro-abortion campaigners and local gay groups.