Family groups have condemned a new draft law that would recognize 16 different "family types" in the traditionally Catholic country.

"For three years, they have been weaving this plan to deconstruct the family -- to break it up according to different circumstances, and mix these with ideological and sectarian snares," said the Federation of Catholic Family Associations.

"They have thus managed to invent a grotesque and false representation of the family, a legislative trap to redefine it away from something born from the marriage of a man and woman," the federation said in a statement Nov. 29.

The coalition government of Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez was preparing final approval of the family law. If approved by parliament, it would recognize "intercultural," "transnational," "biparental" and other family types.

It said various forms of family life were already "legally and socially protected" in Spain, making the new classification by Spain's Ministry of Social Rights "as ridiculous as it is unnecessary."

"This law clearly carries a great ideological charge, which is serious given our country's already serious problems, including a grave economic crisis affecting thousands of homes," the Madrid-based federation said.

"The government is losing itself in ideological debates instead of dedicating itself to doing important things for families and society. We consider it incredible that the word 'birth rate' is barely even mentioned, when we face a grave fall in births and serious problems from an aging population."

The legislation is the latest controversial initiative of the Sánchez government, in power since January 2020. Church officials have criticized the government for legislation facilitating same-sex marriage, secularized education and state-funded euthanasia, as well as for allowing local councils to remove Catholic crosses and monuments from public places.

Government lawyers are investigating church ownership of nonreligious lands and properties under a controversial 1998 law, while a government-appointed commission is investigating sexual abuse among Catholic clergy.

The Spanish bishops' conference approved a report on current social conditions, "Person, family and society," at its Nov. 21-25 Madrid plenary.

Cardinal Juan José Omella, conference president, said 13.1 million people currently faced poverty and exclusion because of rising rents and job insecurity in Spain, whose national birth rate has dropped by 35% in the past 15 years.

He added that families provided a "great source of social peace and stability" and warned the new legislative plans would negatively affect children and young adults.

"In the difficult context of today's economic and social crisis, an attempt is now being made to fast-track a series of laws of deep ideological depth, without calm debate and without listening to the opinion of scientific and ethical experts," Cardinal Omella said in his Nov. 21 opening address to the plenary meeting.

"These recent legislative initiatives do not help to educate adolescents and young people about the beauty and sense of sexuality -- nor do they encourage responsibility for actions or a calm maturity about the consequences."