Madrid, Spain, Oct 24, 2019 / 16:01 pm
The prior of the Benedictine Abbey at the Valley of the Fallen, whence the body of Francisco Franco was exhumed Thursday, has written that the exhumation fails to respect the inviolability of the abbey as a sacred place.
Fr. Santiago Cantera, prior of the Abbey of the Holy Cross, sent a message to Pope Francis; the abbot of Solesmes Abbey; and Cardinal Carlos Osoro Sierra of Madrid noting the violation.
Franco's body was exhumed from the Basilica of the Holy Cross at the Valley of the Fallen Oct. 24. It was re-interred in Madrid's El Pardo cemetery.
Franco was Spain's head of state from 1939, at the end of the Spanish Civil War when the Nationalist forces he led defeated the Republican faction, until his death in 1975. During the war, Republicans martyred thousands of clerics, religious, and laity; of these, 11 have been canonized, and 1,915 beatified.
The Valley of the Fallen is a monumental complex near Madrid which includes an abbey and basilica, the construction of which Franco ordered to honor the fallen of both sides during the civil war. The bodies of more than 30,000 victims of the war are buried in the complex.
The prior of the Abbey of the Holy Cross also filed a complaint in a Spanish court over the “non-consensual” access by the Civil Guard to the church.
“We want it to be on record that the actions of the Security Forces and the workers have been and are totally incompatible with the principle of the inviolability of places of worship and the rights of this Benedictine community; which we have made known also to the ecclesiastical hierarchy,” according to a statement released Oct. 23 by the Benedictine community.
Europa Press said that the Benedictines have conveyed this complaint to the Archdiocese of Madrid, the Spanish bishops' conference, Solesmes Abbey (their mother house), and the Holy See.