The last visit of a Pope to Spain was that of Benedict XVI in 2011, for the World Youth Day./ Photo: La Razón.
Darío Menor. Vatican City.
One hour and ten minutes was how long the audience at the Holy See lasted between the Spanish vice-president, Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría, and the Vatican’s Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin. The encounter lasted longer than anticipated despite the Italian cardinal’s tight schedule, who before the audience participated in one of the meetings of the Council of Cardinals, the work-group instituted by Pope Francis I to counsel and aid him in the reform of the Roman curate and in the government of the universal Church.
The Executive’s number two, travelled to Rome with the objective of finalising the Pope’s visit to Spain next year, for the celebration of the fifth centenary of the birth of Saint Teresa of Jesus.
As both Juan Carlos I, before his abdication, and Felipe VI, his successor, had during the audiences they held with the Bishop of Rome, Sáenz de Santamaría reiterated before the secretary of State the invitation for Jorge Mario Bergoglio to travel to Spain “at such a special moment” as will be the celebration of the anniversary of the Saint, native of Ávila.
She stated that the Government “had no information” to confirm the visit, “but we are hopeful that it will take place”, she added, smiling.
The analysis of Spain and Europe’s economic and social situation took up most of the conversation between the vice-president and the “number two” of the Vatican hierarchy. “We have shared our mutual concerns on employment, and particularly youth employment. What Spain needs right now”, Sáenz de Santamaría said, “is to work on giving young people what the secretary of State himself called hope”.
«Relations are characterised by harmony and closeness»
Yesterday’s visit to the Holy See closes months of great diplomatic activity, aimed to continue when Francis’ trip to Spain is confirmed. Juan Carlos and Sofía were received by the Pope, in the Vatican, on 28 April, in a much longer audience than usual, in which it is probable that the monarch communicated to the Bishop of Rome his desire to abdicate.
The abdication was made public on 2 June. 28 days later, Felipe VI and Letizia’s meeting with Francis I, during which, as had his father before him, the King reiterated the invitation for the Pope to visit Spain.
All these conversations, together with a harmonious position on Latin America, Europe and the Middle East, meant that yesterday the vice-president could boast about the great moment that the relationship between Spain and the Holy See is going through. “It is characterised by harmony and closeness”, she stated.