Last week’s visit by the pope was largely ignored by Spaniards. The country remains
nominally Catholic, but church attendance has fallen to historic lows. Grassroots
religious groups say the time has come for a full separation of state and Church. "Spain is still, to some extent, living out its long love-hate relationship with the Catholic Church. 'Spaniards, always behind the priests; sometimes with a candle, sometimes with a broom handle,' joked the great 20th-century man of letters Pío Baroja." Many in the Catholic Church accuse the government of being anti-clerical: in reality it simply seems that fewer and fewer people
are interested in organized religion.