Vatican insists ex-envoy's comments on Franco exhumation were 'personal opinion'

AFP - [email protected]
Vatican insists ex-envoy's comments on Franco exhumation were 'personal opinion'
Photo: AFP

The Vatican on Thursday said the former papal envoy to Madrid's criticism of plans to move dictator general Francisco Franco's remains were his personal opinion after Spain complained of "interference".


Renzo Frattini quit his post after his comments drew sweeping criticism with Deputy Prime Minister Carmen Calvo saying they were "absolutely unacceptable" and amounted to "interference" in "internal state affairs".

"On the occasion of the definitive departure of Monsignor Renzo Frattini from Spain, we underline that his recent declarations on the exhumation of the mortal remains of Francisco Franco were made in a personal capacity," said Alessandro Gisotti, the outgoing head of the Holy See press office.

Gisotti said the former papal envoy, who resigned last month, had also denied through the press "any intention of expressing an opinion on questions of internal politics".

Franco, who ruled with an iron fist from the end of Spain's 1936-39 civil war until his death in 1975, is buried in an imposing mausoleum carved into a mountain at the Valley of the Fallen, outside Madrid. A 150-metre (500-feet) 
cross towers over the site.

Plans to exhume his body have caused bitter divisions in Spain.   

The Vatican had kept silent on the issue but in an interview last month Frattini said Spain's Socialist government had "resuscitated Franco" by stirring a public debate over its exhumation plans.

"It would be better to leave him in peace, most people, politicians, think this way because 40 years have passed since his death, he has done what he has done, God will judge," Frattini had said.

The Vatican has not opposed the exhumation.

READ MORE: Spain complains over Vatican 'interference' in Franco exhumation plan


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