Spain, Vatican Are in Agreement on Dictator's Remains

Say they'll prevent Gen. Francisco Franco from being reburied under Madrid cathedral
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 30, 2018 12:16 PM CDT
Spain, Vatican Are in Agreement on Dictator's Remains
A person walks by the Franco family burial space adorned with flowers in the Almudena Crypt, a cavernous late-19th century Catholic temple under Madrid's Almudena cathedral, in central Madrid, Spain, Thursday Oct. 25, 2018.   (AP Photo/Paul White)

The Spanish government said Tuesday that the Vatican has agreed to jointly find ways to prevent the remains of late Spanish dictator Gen. Francisco Franco from being reburied under a central Madrid cathedral. Relatives of Franco want to reinter his embalmed body in a family crypt under Almudena Cathedral if the government delivers on a promise to remove it from the Valley of the Fallen, a self-aggrandizing mausoleum outside of the Spanish capital where he was interred upon his death in 1975. Opponents worry that having the general's remains under the cathedral would make Madrid a pilgrimage destination for extreme right groups and others nostalgic for Franco's authoritarian rule, reports the AP.

The Franco family crypt under the Spanish capital's cathedral is centrally located among major tourist hotspots. Deputy Prime Minister Carmen Calvo said the Vatican's State Secretary Pietro Parolin had agreed during a Monday meeting to "jointly find a solution that obviously can't be the Almudena" cathedral. The two sides agreed that while Franco's remains need to be relocated to a place "with dignity," the government "must guarantee in all Spanish territory that Franco is not praised." Those remarks suggested a new turn, as the Spanish government and Catholic authorities in Spain had previously said they couldn't oppose the proposal from Franco's heirs because the sepulcher under Madrid's main church is owned by the family, which bought it from the church for $34,000 more than two decades ago. Read more on the planned exhumation here.

(More Francisco Franco stories.)

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