The PSOE, United We Can and other leftist formations have requested this Monday explanations from the leader of the PP, Pablo Casado, for having attended last Saturday in the Church of Sagrario (attached to the Cathedral of Granada) a mass in which they prayed by the dictator Francisco Franco coinciding with the 46th anniversary of his death, a fact that the PP claims was fortuitous. Official sources of the PP emphasize that the religious act was not organized to pay homage to the dictator, but that it was a regular mass that ended with a request for a prayer for Franco, among many others, who was named without the surname and that Casado did not know that he was going to occur. In parallel to the request for explanations from the left-wing parties, the Francisco Franco Foundation has published this Monday a statement in which it maintains that it did not “expressly” invite the leader of the PP, but thanks him for coming “like the rest of the attendees at Mass the prayer for the soul of an exemplary Christian like Francisco Franco Bahamonde ”.
Casado’s attendance at this religious service was brought to light by the publication on social networks of a photograph taken by a young man in the vicinity of the church with the popular leader. The PP confirms that Casado attended mass with his wife and children on Saturday afternoon in Granada, where he was to attend the congress of the PP in Andalusia. Casado came on Saturday because on Sunday, when he usually does, he could not since he gave the closing speech of the conclave, they say in his team. And he did not know, they maintain, that at the religious service, which coincided with the anniversary of the dictator’s death, someone was going to ask for a prayer for Franco. The popular leader “coincided by chance” at that mass, they insist on the PP, and “knew nothing” about the request. In the PP they dismiss what happened as “absurd controversy”, says an official spokesman, because “it was not a mass for Franco”, but, as in all masses, “it is always requested by people who have died at the end.” “What you do not know is who is going to ask,” they affect the PP.
A spokeswoman for the archdiocese of Granada has explained to EL PAÍS that the mass, which took place in the Iglesia del Sagrario, attached to the cathedral, was celebrated by the parish priest of the church and not the archbishop, informs Javier Arroyo, and that it was “a normal and ordinary mass in the sense that there was nothing special about the liturgy and no authorities attended.” “If Pablo Casado appeared, as is being said, he did so in a personal capacity, like the rest of the faithful who attended,” he clarified. Regarding the dedication to Franco, the spokesperson commented that “a person who reserved a mass for a person and his name was said, although there was not much else.” Asked if only the name or the first and last names were commissioned or mentioned, the spokeswoman has not been able to clarify whether Francisco or Francisco Franco was said.
The Francisco Franco Foundation has affirmed through a statement that since it did not “expressly” invite the leader of the PP to the religious service, “it cannot be held responsible or attributed its presence.” However, he emphasizes that the mass was “announced and called days before by this Foundation on its website” and thanked Casado for his presence. The PP responds that it does not feel alluded to by that congratulation, and assures that it was not aware of the announcement that the foundation had made on its website. “You don’t have to thank him because he didn’t go to any funeral for Franco. He went to his mass on Sunday, like every Sunday, only on Saturday, because he couldn’t go ”, answer official party sources.
The left-wing parties have asked the PP leader for explanations on Monday for his presence in the religious office. After the meeting of the Board of Spokespersons in Congress, the spokesman for the Socialist Group Héctor Gómez, has interpreted as an “aggression” and “absolute irresponsibility”, the presence of Casado in this religious act and has summoned him to explain if he “endorses the dictatorship ”and if he was there by“ chance ”or by“ opportunity ”.
In the same way, the spokesperson for United We Can, Pablo Echenique, has described Casado’s assistance in this religious act as “enormously serious.” “We can assign it at random, but on 20-N there were 10 masses for Franco in all of Spain and there are 23,000 churches, with which the probability of going to an era of 0.05%”, he commented.
Echenique has highlighted the fact that Casado stayed at the mass once it was found that it was prayed for by the dictator and has shown his “surprise” by the fact that this matter is not causing a great debate. In the same vein, En Comú spokesperson Aina Vidal has expressed herself, who considers it urgent to clarify this “tremendously alarming” situation and has called on Casado to make a “deep reflection”. From their point of view, the popular must put an end to the internal “struggle” “to see who is more ultra” who “is absolutely losing them” and return the party to “democratic frameworks.”
The leader of Más País, Íñigo Errejón has also asked for a public explanation. In his opinion, if Casado entered that temple “by chance” and “by mistake” he has to “go out” to make it clear that “he does not honor dictators” and that he is “unequivocally with democracy and with those who fought for it in our country”. “The opposite would be very serious,” he warned, underlining that if the acting German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, had mistakenly entered a mass in honor of Adolf Hitler, she would appear to accept her mistake and apologize for offending the Democrats.
Through Twitter, the PP has spread a message in the face of criticism from the left. “What a coincidence that today that the Government agrees on the Budgets with Bildu, those that do not condemn ETA, the PSOE takes out the wild card of Franco. They are the same as always, with the same tricks as always, “says the text.
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