UPDATE 1-Bad weather interrupts pope's speech in Spain

sábado 20 de agosto de 2011 23:40 CEST

* Heavy rainstorm prevents Benedict from delivering address

* Upheld traditional marriage vows in prepared text

* Gay activists march in central Madrid

By Judy MacInnes and Sonya Dowsett

MADRID, Aug 20 (Reuters) - A torrential rainstorm forced Pope Benedict to abandon a speech to hundreds of thousands of young people gathered at an aerodrome outside Madrid on Saturday.

Driving rain and wind forced the organisers of the event to recommend Benedict halt his address after delivering just a few opening words of welcome.

"A massive storm got up and officials halted the programme as it was impossible for the pope to continue battling against the elements," a witness said.

"But people were surprisingly calm and stayed where they were, with many welcoming the break in the weather after baking in the afternoon heat ... Besides there was nowhere to run for shelter in this huge open arena."

In a text of the speech released in advance on Saturday, Benedict had written that marriage must be between a man and a woman and called for the respect for life, in apparent criticism of Spain's legalisation of gay marriage and abortion.   Continuación...