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Spanish Church expresses concern at plan to exhume Franco’s remains

The Archdiocese of Madrid has warned the Spanish government against plans to exhume the remains of the country’s late dictator, General Francisco Franco, without obtaining agreement from interested parties.

“We want a solution which helps build a peaceful country,” said Rodrigo Pinedo Texidor, archdiocesan communications director, noting that the archdiocese is not for or against the removal of Franco’s remains.

“We are against moves which don’t have his family’s consent and don’t consider what the Church has to say,” he told Catholic News Service after Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez confirmed plans to remove the remains from a state mausoleum at the Valley of the Fallen, near Madrid, by the end of July.

Besides the remains of Franco, who ruled Spain until his death in 1975, the Valley of the Fallen contains the remains of at least 34,000 people who died in the 1936-1939 civil war, and includes a 500-foot-tall cross and pontifical Santa Cruz basilica.

Sanchez announced plans to transform the Valley of the Fallen into a national remembrance centre.

“There’s also a Benedictine community at the Valley charged with praying for peace and brotherhood between Spaniards. So although the Church doesn’t have the final say, its voice must be heard,” Pinedo said.

No one from the government had been in touch with the Madrid archdiocese, whose archbishop, Cardinal Carlos Osoro Sierra, shares responsibility for the Valley of the Fallen, he said.

Read more at Catholic Herald. 

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