Mill wheels, by Jorge Fauró

There was as much probability that Pablo Casado would end up in a mass in honor of Franco and Primo de Rivera as of sneaking into an office of the ex-bishop of Solsona after his wedding, but, even so, he entered with the ceremony already started, the pre-constitutional flag affixed of the first bank of the cathedral of Granada and the happy young people chanting the ‘Cara al sol’ at the end of the service. Married assures that he did not know it and I believe him. With the one Ayuso and Cayetana have set up for him, the last thing the Popular Party president needed is to purposely sneak into a homily to the greater glory of the dictator and the founder of Falange. The opposition leader’s advisers deserve a response, if not a penance, but Casado is to politics what Peter Sellers to ‘El guateque’: you know that at some point he is going to screw it up (remember his recent blunder in the middle from a speech by Aznar, when he mistakenly joked with the indigenous origin of Mexico and quoted the Incas, who never spread across Aztec soil).

Much has been focused – and very little on what is relevant – on what is apparently an involuntary clumsiness of the popular leader attributable to chance. An oriental proverb says that when the wise man points to the Moon the fool looks at the finger. The finger is Pablo Casado. Meanwhile, on the Moon we observe two circumstances that should not go unnoticed. A, why the Church continues to officiate these types of ceremonies; and two, if the regional administrations can act against the celebration of this kind of office, why not do it? Organized inside a temple or in the middle of a square, these tributes are still an exaltation of characters from recent history who they passed the roller over the most elementary human rights. If some are outraged that an ‘aurresku’ is danced when receiving a prisoner, they should not be less angry to celebrate the figure of a head of state who, for 40 years, imprisoned, retaliated and killed thousands of innocents who did not agree with his ideas and whom he understood as an obstacle to his ends. As much as part of the left insists, I don’t see Casado cheering celebrations of that kind.

Between November 18 and 23, organizations dedicated to preserving the memory of the dictatorship programmed in different parts of Spain until 11 masses in memory of Francisco Franco. Seville, Badajoz, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Granada, Ceuta, Zamora, Albacete, Malaga and Madrid convened masses for this purpose and only one was not celebrated. The first of them, scheduled in Alicante on the 18th, was suspended after the Generalitat Valenciana warned of possible sanctions, since this type of tribute can go against the Law of Historical Memory. There is no known complaint from the diocese of Orihuela-Alicante, then here peace and then glory. In a non-denominational state, the law prevails over the religious order.

The matter deserves a reflection because the Catholic Church is not just anything. It has more faithful than Casado, Sánchez and the entire parliamentary arch together, and to the same extent that its representation and social weight in this country is immense, it must be demanded measure and responsibility when hosting certain commemorations. For good and for bad, the Church has had and still has an undeniable political influence. He had it before, during and after the Transition, and in certain matters that concern politics and the structuring of a State, it does not seem advisable to put oneself in profile before questions that concern coexistence. To Caesar what is Caesar’s.

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If the role of the Church is questionable, it is no less so that of the administrations. That only one autonomous community prevented the celebration of a mass with honors to the dictator indicates that, in certain matters, laziness seems to prevail over the principle of authority. Even in belligerent autonomous governments in the defense of historical memory, it has been chosen to avoid the discomfort of stepping on certain gardens and overlooked the celebration of a religious service to the greater glory of Franco. That it is one thing to commune in the free exercise of one’s beliefs, and quite another to do it with mill wheels.

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