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Franco resisted bid by Pope Paul VI to end Spanish government's role in nominating bishops

November 08, 2011

Pope Paul VI tried to persuade General Francisco Franco to renounce the Spanish government’s privilege of nominating Catholic bishops, the Vatican newspaper reports. The Pontiff was unable to sway Franco, and Spain did not formally renounce that privilege until 1976, under King Juan Carlos I.

After the Second Vatican Council, Pope Paul sought to amend several Church-state agreements that had given government leaders the right to put forward candidates for episcopal ordination. In 1968 he asked General Franco to surrender that right. Franco said that he was sympathetic toward the idea, but cited his own moral obligation to provide for the moral welfare of his country.

In his subsequent correspondence with the Pontiff and conversations with papal representatives, Franco frequently asked for Vatican intervention to curb the Catholic critics of his regime, L’Osservatore Romano discloses.


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