THANKS to the Mortgage Law, amended in 1998, the Church has been able to register 30,000 properties as its own.
These include not only cathedrals, churches and chapels but also parish halls, teachers’ housing, squares, fountains, land and even fronton courts where the Spanish ball game is played.
No government has been willing to publish a list of the properties that Church authorities have claimed, including the acting government headed by Pedro Sanchez.
Several bodies have been demanding this information for years, including the Coordinadora Recuperando, which groups together several associations that fight on behalf of Spain’s patrimony.
Publishing the list would set in motion the process of reclaiming these assets, allowing town halls and private individuals to challenge the Church’s claim to ownership.
When the list finally reaches the national parliament in Madrid, the government will have acted on a proposal from the PSOE socialists that was approved in 2017 despite the opposition of the Partido Popular and Ciudadanos.
This gave the government, then headed by Mariano Rajoy, six months in which to comply.
Rajoy failed to submit the list and so, to date, has his successor, Pedro Sanchez.