THE Spanish government is turning to the Vatican in its bid to stop dictator Francisco Franco being buried at a famous Madrid cathedral, should his remains be exhumed.
Deputy prime minister Carmen Calvo will travel to Rome to meet with the Pope’s second in command Pietro Parolin, to discuss the matter with the heads of the Catholic Church.
Last week, Franco’s family demanded his body be reburied at La Almudena Cathedral, next to the Royal Palace, which the government has argued would undermine the object of exhumation from the Valley of the Fallen.
It is also feared the move would create a new pilgrimage site for the dictator’s supporters, posing a security risk.
Socialist Party (PSOE) government officials would prefer he was moved to a less prestigious location, such as El Prado cemetery where his wife is buried.
But with no legal grounds to prevent the landmark cathedral move, ministers are pinning their hopes on church leaders.
It has been reported Calvo also intends to discuss properties that the government suspects are fraudulently owned by the Catholic Church under laws approved by Franco.
The archbishop of Madrid, Carlos Oslo, agreed not to prevent the exhumation back in July, but has since claimed the church can’t stop Franco’s relatives from moving his body to La Almudena.
It is believed that should the government find a legal reason to stop the transfer, the church will support it, as it did with the exhumation.
But at the moment, its only argument is the security risk it might pose, which could be rejected by the courts.