INTRODUCTION: King Juan Carlos of Spain was received by Pope Paul at the Vatican City on Thursday (10 February) in the first meeting for more than 50 years between a Spanish monarch and the head of the Roman Catholic church.
GV EXT Vatican courtyard and official cars driving in and King Juan Carlos meets official (2 shots)
GV Officials in audience
GV King Carlos and wife up steps watched by guard of honour (2 shots)
GV Pope and King and Queen taking seats (6 shots)
SV Courtiers watch as King, Pope and Queen walk out (3 shots)
GV EXT Basilica
GV King Carlos and Queen walk into Basilica
SV Crowd applauds as group walks down aisle (3 shots)
SV Kind finishes address as crowd applauds
SV Carlos meets church dignataries (5 shots)
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Background: INTRODUCTION: King Juan Carlos of Spain was received by Pope Paul at the Vatican City on Thursday (10 February) in the first meeting for more than 50 years between a Spanish monarch and the head of the Roman Catholic church.
SYNOPSIS: The audience is seen as a clear sign that relations between Spain and the Vatican have improved dramatically since the death of General Franco 15 months ago. Although the late Spanish dictator waged civil was in the late 1930s in the name of the Catholic Church, he encountered severe criticism from both the Vatican and catholic bishops and priests within his own country.
The King is also expected to strengthen his position among Spain's Conservative Catholics and Liberals because of the visit.
King Juan Carlos and his wife, Queen Sofia, had an unusually long audience with the Pope. he apparently won the Pope's approval for his moves towards a constitutional monarchy in post-Franco Spain, coupled with democracy and respect for human rights. He also obtained the Pope's thanks for his personal efforts towards reforming the 1953 Concordat, governing ties between Spain and the Vatican.
King Juan Carlos met the 79-year old Pope once before when he visited the Vatican in 1970. The last Spanish king to visit a pope was Juan Carlos' grandfather, King Alfonso the eighth, who met Pope Pius the Sixth in 1923.
After the 70-minute audience, King Juan Carlos and his wife visited the St. Mary Major Basilica. The church has a close link with Spain as the gold for the extensive decorations was won by Spanish conquistadors and was the first to come from the "new world". The then King of Spain gave the gold to the Pope who instructed that it should be used in the church. This time, the King gave the Pope a painting by the Spanish surrealist artist Salvador Dali and in return, the Pope gave a ceramic of John the Baptist, a bronze medal and a signed photograph.
As well as meeting church leaders, the King met top Italian government officials. Among the subjects he discussed with them were Spain's hope of joining the European Common Market and of closer collaboration with Italy in the Mediterranean.
In a speech after the talks, pope Paul said the Church in Spain seeks no privileges, but only sufficient liberty to carry forward its evangelising mission. For centuries the church has yielded immense influence over predominantly Catholic Spain, but Pope Paul was frequently critical of the dictatorship of General Franco.