The Apostolic Nuncio in Spain, Renzo Fratini, has accused the Government of “resurrecting Franco” by trying to exhume his body and have it removed from the basilica in the Valley of the Fallen, where it has been since he died in 1975.
In an interview with Europa Press, the nuncio said “Honestly, there are so many problems in the World and in Spain, why resurrect him? I tell you they’ve resurrected Franco. It would have been better to leave him in peace. Most people, most politicians, believe that 40 years after his death what’s done is done, God will judge. There is nothing to gain in bringing up something that caused a civil war”
The Government was not amused by the comments and is filing a formal complaint with the Vatican, accusing the diplomat of “interfering in State affairs”.
In an interview with Cadena Ser, Carmen Calvo, the Government’s second leading figure, blasted the Nuncio. “He has to respect the rules of diplomatic behaviour. The Spanish State will be replying harshly. I hope the Vatican manages to restore order. He should air no opinions other than the instructions of his State”.
She called his comments “unacceptable” both in form and in substance and indicated that the relationship with the Vatican’s representative, who leaves his post on the 2nd of July, had already been tense. “I have had a number of difficult conversations with him”, said Calvo, adding that his latest statement had not surprised her.
The Valley of the Fallen is a large monument made by General Francisco Franco’s regime to honour the dead of the Spanish Civil War. It includes a basilica where the former dictator is buried, along with 20 Benedictine monks, who would also be disinterred.
Calvo claims that “after 40 years of democracy, the dictator cannot remain in a public place, where he can be honoured”. The Government’s decision to move his body to the Franco family crypt in the El Pardo cemetery in Madrid has been suspended by the Supreme Court, while the judges decide on the matter.