This is not the first time that the current government has been accused of "provoking" the Church in such a fashion. In 2005, the government's own ambassador to the Holy See said Zapatero's government had “stuck a finger in the Church's eye” by approving the law on same-sex marriages two days before Benedict's inauguration.
The pope will greet Premier Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero at the headquarters of the Valencia archdiocese, and not at any official government location. The move, some have speculated, is a signal by the gesture-sensitive Vatican to show the socialists and Zapatero where they stand in Benedict’s estimation. The meeting with Zapatero is scheduled following his greeting of King Juan Carlos and Queen Sophia, for which the pope will travel to Valencia’s City Hall.