Pedro Sánchez and Pope Francis meet today in the Vatican

Posted: Saturday October 24, 2020 8:26 AM

The President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, will go to the Vatican on Saturday October 24 to be received by Pope Francis and will invite him to visit Spain “whenever possible”, according to what he himself has said this week.

The purpose of the meeting is to discuss bilateral relations between Spain and the Vatican and to analyze the situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and its social and economic effects, with a view to progress in human rights. man and in line with the latest encyclical “Fratelli tutti”, reported by the Palacio de la Moncloa.

As specified, the Spanish government and its president, starting from their defense of multilateralism, share with the Pope the call to build “a more just and united world, which defends the most vulnerable from the effects of disease, neoliberalism and populism” .

They also ensure that Sánchez shares the thoughts gathered in the previous “Laudato Si” encyclical on the need to tackle the climate emergency, a global task in which the Spanish government is fully engaged and at the forefront.

The government hopes the two will have a “rich conversation”, just as “rich is the list of issues on which there is great agreement”, according to Foreign Affairs, EU and Cooperation Minister Arancha González Laya, who also traveled this week to the Holy See.

González Laya met with Secretary for State Relations Paul Gallagher on Tuesday, with whom Sánchez will also meet this Saturday at 10:30 a.m., an hour after his hearing with the Pope.

Message from Calvo to Vox in the Senate

Executive sources hope to coincide with the positions of Pope Francis on the issues he addressed in his last encyclical, “Fratelli tutti” (“Brothers all”), in which he appeals to “true dialogue”, criticizes companies that behave like a market and with the “rejection” of the elderly.

He also criticizes the neoliberal and populist approach to migration, warning that behind their claims “there are many lives being torn apart” and advocates simplifying “the granting of visas” or opening “humanitarian corridors for them. most vulnerable refugees “.

The coincidence of the Spanish government with these postulates has already been explained to the Senate by Vice-President Carmen Calvo, who answered a question from Vox asking her to put into practice what this encyclical asks instead of “provoking”.

The government also underlines the Pontiff’s sensitivity to climate change, as shown in his encyclical “Laudato si”. During his meeting with Gallagher, González Laya spoke of stronger multilateralism to deal with interdependence and climate change, migration and the situation in the Mediterranean, Latin America and the Sahel.

Rajoy, the last president to visit the Vatican (2013)

This is the first meeting between Pope Francis and the Spanish leader. The last visit of a president of the Spanish government took place on April 15, 2013 when Mariano Rajoy and his wife, Elvira Fernández, visited the Vatican just one month after Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected as pope. In 2010, Benedict XVI received José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero in the Vatican.

Health regulations due to the pandemic will prevent “in situ” journalistic coverage of the meeting, a step that has already been taken on other occasions to prevent the spread of infections.

In this way, journalists will be able to access the Dámaso patio where the Spanish flag will wave and where President Sánchez will arrive by car at 9.15 am. Fifteen minutes later, the hearing will begin.

The solemn ceremony of the arrival of a Head of State or Government in the Vatican begins with the reception of the Prefect of the Pontifical House. The Spanish delegation will pass through the Sala Clementina, which is the antechamber of the papal halls, the Sant’Ambrogio and dei Papi halls until they reach the private library.

Vatican protocol requires all women to wear black and a mantilla; white is reserved for Catholic queens. The president will be accompanied by his wife, Begoña Gómez.

Once alone, seated in the private library of the Apostolic Palace, the exchange of gifts will take place. The Pope usually presents visiting politicians with the most important writings that form the roadmap for his pontificate. The apostolic exhortations, Amoris laetitia, on love in the family or the encyclicals Evangelii Gaudium, Laudato Si and the last “Fratelli Tutti”.

The stakes on the table

Among the issues that are on the table and that, therefore, it is foreseeable that the two leaders will address, are: the taxation of the Catholic Church, the registration fees, the payment of the IBI or the Religion class , among others.

Additionally, the meeting takes place as the euthanasia law continues in Spain, and after the recent announcement by Equality Minister Irene Montero of a reform of the abortion law.

The visit also coincides with the first anniversary of the exhumation of Francisco Franco del Valle de los Caídos which took place on October 24, 2019 after spending 43 years, 11 months and a day in the ground. His remains were transferred to the Mingorrubio cemetery in Madrid, in a pantheon where his wife, Carmen Polo rests.

Last September, the government announced that it was planning to “re-signify the Valley of the Dead” to make it a civil cemetery protected by national heritage, according to the first vice-president of the government, Carmen Calvo. He also announced that the foundation of the Benedictines present in the valley would be “automatically” extinguished.

Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez will leave the Vatican Apostolic Palace around 11 a.m.

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