Spain: Church to return 965 properties to owners
The Catholic Church in Spain has admitted that 965 properties registered to its name do not rightly belong to the institution. The appropriations began in 1946 with a Franco-era law that allowed the Church to effectively register any property as its own. A year ago, Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez announced that properties irregularly registered to the Church would be returned to their rightful owners, and had a list of more than 35,000 such assets sent to the Church.
And what about the profits and all the rest?
Columnist Núria Escur, whose family also lost a plot of land to the Church, demands more in La Vanguardia:
“The Church leadership should admit that many of the assets it wrongfully appropriated have borne fruit. Yes, the upkeep of these properties doesn't come for free and their restoration is an odyssey, nevertheless sharing the proceeds that some of them produce with the governors of heaven on earth is relatively easy. ... As soon as the list of the 965 appropriated properties that are to be returned is made public (and what about the other 34,035?), I will set out to find the 38 cemeteries, and see how well I fare. ... You get the feeling that we are participating in an absurd lottery in which only a few people will get back what already belonged to them.”
This doesn't solve matters
Ctxt is also angry and says the government needs to go further:
“We now know that the Church has appropriated almost a thousand properties that did not belong to it because [Jose Maria] Aznar, who ruled from 1996 to 2004, reaffirmed a Francoist privilege. ... But we still have a gap of 52 years between Franco's mortgage law and that of the People's Party government of 1998. ... If Sánchez thinks that a plunder which went on for decades can be resolved with this gracious concession by the Bishops' Conference, the progressive government will not be the architect of a fair agreement or the necessary reparation of immense damage, but merely an elected accomplice to a historical outrage.”