Pope Benedict XVI has responded firmly to the first challenge of his papacy by condemning a Spanish government bill allowing marriage between homosexuals.
The bill, passed by parliament's Socialist-dominated lower house, also allows gay couples to adopt.
A senior Vatican official described the bill - which is likely to become law within a few months - as iniquitous.
He said Roman Catholic officials should be prepared to lose their jobs rather than co-operate with the law.
I really feel sorry for Roman Catholics who are being put in an untenable position. And I'm horrified at the bigotry this represents.