The monks of the Valley of the Fallen offer another mass in memory of the Francoist coup as they await their eviction.

On Monday, July 18, 2022, at eleven o’clock in the morning, the bells are ringing. As they do every year, twenty Benedictine monks who resist in Cuelgamuros enter the basilica to celebrate Mass. This time, without coats of arms, or without flowers in front of the abandoned grave, but in memory of what happened 86 years ago now. Mass, which may be the last.

On July 18, 1936, a coup d’état led by, among others, General Francisco Franco plunged Spain into a bloody three-year civil war, followed by four decades of dictatorship. Last week, the Congress of Deputies approved a law on democratic memory that, pending a Senate parliamentary process in September, would outlaw the Francoist executions, redress victims and allow the exhumation of Franco’s regime mass graves. Some of them, in a place as important as the Valley of the Fallen, which according to the norm will be called “Valle de Cuelgamuros”.

forerunner of the field, Santiago Cantera, just returned from Solemes where he attended the election of a new abbot of the French monastery on which his abbey depends, and is at peace. At the moment, there is no law that guarantees their departure, which, as was able to confirm, they will resist tooth and nail. And with the full support of the political and Catholic far-right, which has already broken knives this week. The leader of VOX, Santiago Abascal, criticized the Law of Democratic Memory, declaring: “We will rebuild everything they destroy and we will raise everything they destroy: from the economy to the crosses.”

in turn Ultra platform HazteOir launched one of the suspicious campaigns through the networks It urged the Spanish bishops to “protect the Valley of the Fallen”, assuring that “the government and the leftists who support it are going to put an end to the cross, desecrate the basilica, destroy Catholic worship and expel the Benedictine monks”..

As much as the right-wingers want to say otherwise, they will neither remove the cross, nor desecrate the abbey, nor persecute the corpses, nor the church. What will happen, at least with the text of the law, is that the Santa Cruz del Valle de los Caidos Foundation, which is the responsibility of the Benedictines, will disappear because it is “incompatible with its objectives.” with constitutional principles and values”. The enclave, which will be transformed into a place of remembrance for the victims of the civil war and the Franco regime, will no longer be responsible for this congregation.

However, HazteOir assures, under apparent pressure on the leaders of the Episcopal Conference, that “what is at stake in the attack against the religious dimension of the Valley of the Dead is religious freedom and the recognition of the rights of the Catholic Church and the faithful.” in international agreements and in the Spanish Constitution”.

“I take the liberty of asking you to protect the Catholic cult, protect the holy sites and protect the Benedictines from the imminent threat of the disappearance of the Valley of the Fallen and its deep religious significance. Please act to prevent the destruction of the Valley of the Dead,” reads the petition addressed to the Spanish Episcopal Dome.

What will the future look like? It is still unclear, because the only thing the norm indicates is that it will be approved, with immediate effect (but also agreed with the Church), “a new legal framework for the field of the fallen that defines the organization. operation and lineage mode”. Assuming that the abbey will not be insulted, the next step is to negotiate with the religious authorities (the Abbey of Solesmes, but fundamentally the Archbishop of Madrid, on which the enclave is territorially dependent), which institution can take responsibility for the Cult of Cuelgamuros. .

Until recently, everyone took it for granted that it would be the community of Sant’Egidio, but everything will depend on the degree of confrontation that will be reached in the fall, which is expected to be “hot” in church-government relations. And still in the middle of the “interregime” of the Secretary General and Speaker, Luis Arguello (he holds the Archbishopric of Valladolid on July 30 and since then he has practically disappeared from national politics) in the Casa de la Iglesia.

What happens to the Benedictine community in the Valley of the Fallen? I was asking Country Secretary of State for Democratic Memory Fernando Martinez. The answer is very clear: “The law offers the so-called The extinction of the Valley of the Dead and the creation of a new legal status by royal decree to be implemented after the final approval of the norm. All the assumptions of the new operation are discussed there.”

And what will happen to the Benedictines? His presence “makes sense” because “his function was not within the framework of democratic values ​​and constitutional principles.” The monks, undaunted, continue every July 18 to celebrate the dead for God and Spain. This Monday was probably the last.

All information is included

Source: El Diario





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