Vatican denies Spanish government’s take on Franco reburial

The Vatican has issued a statement saying the Spanish government’s suggestion that it opposes reburying General Francisco Franco‘s remains at Madrid’s Almudena Cathedral are incorrect.

The Vatican press office says no agreement on the matter has been made.

The confusion about what had been agreed to arose in the media early last week after Spain’s deputy prime minister, Carmen Calvo, visited the Vatican.

She had an appointment to discuss Franco’s exhumation with Vatican secretary of state Cardinal Pietro Parolin.

Afterwards, Calvo told media: “We’ve agreed, with the Catholic church, to work together to find a solution that obviously can’t be the Almudena [Cathedral].”

“The cardinal appreciated that we have to find a solution so that, while Franco’s remains are laid to rest with dignity, they are not the object of any kind of homage [which is what the Spanish government is trying to avoid],” she said.

Soon after Calvo’s interpretation of her meeting with Parolin was published, the Director of the Holy See Press Office, Greg Burke, published the following declaration:

“Regarding the meeting yesterday between the Secretary of State of the Holy See and the Vice President of the Government of Spain, I would like to state the following:

“Cardinal Pietro Parolin does not oppose the exhumation of Francisco Franco, if the competent authorities have decided in favour, but will at no time comment regarding the place of burial.

“It is true that Mrs Carmen Calvo expressed her concern about the possible burial in the cathedral of Almudena and her desire to explore other alternatives, also through dialogue with the family. The Cardinal Secretary of State thought this solution was appropriate.”

Franco’s burial place is near Madrid, in the ‘Valley of the Fallen.’

The Valley of the Fallen, which was partly built by captured republicans and political prisoners during the Spanish Civil War, is a mass grave. The remains of more than 30,000 people who fought on both sides of the Spanish civil war are buried there.

Only two graves are marked in the Valley: one is Franco’s, the other is José Antonio Primo de Rivera’s, the founder of the Falangist party.


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