By Larissa I. López

Given the statements of Pedro Sanchez, President of the Spanish Government, made in an interview published last July 8 in the Corriere della Sera newspaper, the Vatican reminded that “it has never pronounced itself on the opportunity of the exhumation” of Francisco Franco, “or on the place of burial because it’s not of its competence.”

In a press release published today, July 21, 20020, the Holy See Press Office stated that, in regard to the mentioned subject, “it has reiterated on several occasions its respect for legality and the decisions of the competent governmental and judicial authorities, has recommended dialogue between the family and the Government.”

As can be read in the interview of the Italian newspaper, on being asked about the character of the relations between the PSOE (the Spanish President’s party) and if the situation had changed with Pope Francis, Pedro Sanchez said that the Holy Father “helped me in the matter of Franco’s body. There was a community of Benedictines in the Valley of the Fallen that was against the exhumation. I asked the Vatican to intervene, and everything was resolved.”

Previous Clarification

In November of 2018, after a meeting between the Cardinal Secretary of State, Pietro Parolin, with the Government’s Vice-Secretary, Carmen Calvo, the Holy See also clarified in a press release that the Vatican’s representative “is not opposed to the exhumation of Francisco Franco, if the competent authorities have so decided, but in no moment did it pronounce itself on the place of the inhumation.”

“It’s true that Mrs. Carmen Calvo expressed her concern over the possible burial in the Cathedral of Almudena and her desire to explore other alternatives, also through dialogue with the family. This solution seemed opportune to the Cardinal Secretary of State,” explained the text. According to some Spanish media, the confusion was caused by the communication, on the part of the Government of Spain, that the Secretary of State had guaranteed, to Carmen Calvo in that meeting, his opposition to Franco’s remains being buried in the Cathedral of Almudena.

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