Gays and lesbians staged a kiss-in protest during the Pope’s visit to Spain as the Pontiff defended “traditional” relationships.

The protest, said by reports to include 100-200 people, took place as he was driven through Barcelona yesterday.

Jordi Petit, who helped organise the kiss-in, said: “This is a peaceful act of protest to demonstrate that love is the same in the hearts of everyone.”

In the last seven years, Spain has legalised gay marriage, abortion on demand in the first trimester and has made divorce easier.

On Saturday, the Pope told followers that the country was at the “epicentre” of a battle between “faith and modernity” in Europe.

He also criticised “non-traditional” relationships, saying: “Generous love between a man and a woman is the efficient framework and basis of human life.”