Holy See–Spain relations

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Holy See-Spain relations
Map indicating locations of Holy See and Spain

Holy See


Holy See–Spain relations are foreign relations between the Holy See and Spain. Both countries established diplomatic relations in 1480. This is the oldest permanent diplomatic mission in history. The Holy See has a nunciature in Madrid. Spain has an embassy in Rome.


Embassy of Spain to the Holy See in Rome

The Spanish Inquisition was an ecclesiastical tribunal started in 1478 by Catholic Monarchs Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella I of Castile. It was intended to maintain Catholic orthodoxy in their kingdoms, and to replace the medieval inquisition which was under Vatican control. Spain's diplomatic mission in Rome grew out of the Inquisition and exploration in the New World. Its first ambassador, Gonzalo de Beteta, was appointed in 1480. This established the World´s oldest permanent diplomatic mission in History.

The mission resulted in important projects of cooperation between the 2 countries. These include Vatican support for the Granada War, the partition of the New World between Spain and Portugal via the “Bula Inter Caetera” in 1493 (see Treaty of Tordesillas), and the creation of the Holy League which led to the key Victory for Christiandom at the Battle of Lepanto

For most of the reign of Pope Alexander VI (1492-1503), the Church had its own diplomatic representation in Spain. The Holy See's embassy was renewed in 1506, by Pope Julius II.[1]

After 1978[edit]

After the new Spanish Constitution adopted in 1978, the constitution adopt the principles of Separation of Church and State, while the state continued to fund public schools which run by the Catholic Church.

Relations with the recent Zapatero's PSOE government were strained because of legislation allowing for same-sex marriage and liberalisation of abortion, the end of religious education in public schools, and general political support for secularism.[2] The government valued the heritage of the Spanish Republicans of the 19th and 20th centuries, many of which were strongly anticlerical, especially during the Spanish Civil War. It also questioned the role of the Spanish monarchy in national politics.

This contrasts with previous Spanish administrations, many of which had been keen on promoting Spain's historic Catholic culture and identity, such as under Francisco Franco, for example. Relations were also good under Partido Popular (PP)'s Jose Maria Aznar and Mariano Rajoy.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Garrett Mattingly, Renaissance Diplomacy (Penguin Books, 1964 edition), p. 133 -- Internet Archive
  2. ^ Daniel González Herrera (2006-03-09). "Socially conservative mayor appointed Spain's new ambassador to the Vatican". Retrieved 2016-06-11.

External links[edit]