Vatican denies interference in debate over Franco exhumation

Vatican denies interference in debate over Franco exhumation

Vatican denies interference in debate over Franco exhumation

In this Friday, Aug. 24, 2018 file photo, flowers are placed on the tomb of former Spanish dictator Francisco Franco inside the basilica at the Valley of the Fallen monument near El Escorial, outside Madrid. (Credit: Andrea Comas/AP.)

The Vatican has responded to a formal protest by the Spanish government over a controversy regarding the remains of Gen. Francisco Franco, saying it never intended to meddle with Spain's domestic affairs.

ROME — The Vatican has responded to a formal protest by the Spanish government over a controversy regarding the remains of Gen. Francisco Franco, saying it never intended to meddle with Spain’s domestic affairs.

In early July, Spain sent a formal protest to the Vatican after the papal nuncio in Madrid rebuked the Socialist government for “resuscitating” Franco through its efforts to move the former dictator’s remains. The deputy head of the Socialist caretaker government noted that the diplomat’s comments amounted to “interference” in Spanish affairs.

Vatican spokesman Alessandro Gisotti clarified on Thursday that nuncio Archbishop Renzo Fratini — who has since left Spain after concluding his mandate — was expressing his own opinion.

Fratini said the Spanish government “had resuscitated Franco” by stirring a public debate over its exhumation plans.


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