In a meeting with Spanish bishops the Pope has expressed his concern about what he regards as the diminishing role of the Church in the lives of Catholics in the country.
Pope John Paul told the gathering he was worried about the spread of secularism in Spain which he said was leading to a restriction of religious freedom.
He urged the Spanish government not to forget its Christian roots.
But he made no reference to recent comments by a senior Spanish cleric which appeared to conflict with the Catholic Church’s stance on the use of condoms. Father Juan Antonia Martinez Camino said contraception “had a place in a global approach to tackling aids”.
That led the Catholic hierarchy in Spain to issue a statement saying it was not challenging the doctrine of Rome.
But the controversy highlighted a wider conflict between the Church and state in the overwhelmingly Catholic country.
The Spanish government is currently attempting to raise awareness of safe sex by promoting the use of condoms.