By Diego Lopez Marina
A supposed comment by the late Pope Benedict XVI concerning Spain and the devil has been circulating on social media in recent days. The observation attributed to the pontiff comes from Jorge Fernández Díaz, Spain’s former minister of the interior.
According to a Nov. 11 post on X by “Catholic University Students,” which went viral, Benedict XVI supposedly said “the devil knows what Spain has done throughout her history: the evangelization of the Americas, the role of Spain during the Counter-Reformation… the devil attacks the best more and, therefore, attacks Spain.”
Although there is no record of this comment in Benedict XVI’s speeches and writings, the former minister has stated that the late pontiff said it during a private conversation they had at the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery on June 17, 2015.
ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner, reported on June 14, 2020, that during an online conference held a few days before, former minister Fernández explained the context of the pope’s words. According to the politician, the pontiff gave him that response when he asked him to pray for Spain because of the problems the country was experiencing, mainly due to the political tensions related to the pressure for Catalonian independence.
Fernández said that when speaking to Benedict XVI, he asked him: “Your Holiness, please pray for Spain, we need it very much.”
In October 2017, the Catalan government held a referendum on independence, which was declared illegal by the Spanish government. Over the years, there have been demonstrations and protests both for and against the independence of Catalonia.
Spain is currently immersed in a serious political crisis following the agreement between the ruling Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE) and Junts per Catalunya (Together for Catalonia) political party to keep acting president Pedro Sánchez in power, which includes amnesty for Catalan secessionists convicted of sedition by the nation’s Supreme Court. Several bishops have called the political deal, which has sparked massive protests in various parts of the country, “immoral.”
This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.