The cause for beatification of Isabelle the Catholic returns once again to the forefront of religious news, since the Sovereign Pontiff has asked the Spanish bishops to take over the file.
Could it be that Pope Francis has a particular devotion for Isabelle the Catholic? In any case, the Spanish newspaper Religion Digital, explained on April 22, 2020 that the Holy Father is personally involved in the process of beatification of the Spanish monarch, who died more than five centuries ago.
Cardinal Antonio Canizares Llovera, Archbishop of Valencia confirms this: “The Pope asked us to take up again the cause of Isabelle the Catholic, during the last assembly of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America.” Archbishop Canizares continues by specifying that the process for Queen Isabelle could even accelerate, given the context of detente with ... Judaism: “I hope that we can move forward soon, as our relations with the Jews, who are mainly opposed to the canonization, are very good at the moment,” he says. This is an admission of the scandalous interference in the affairs of the Church on the part of certain authorities, visibly capable of blocking - or unblocking - a canonization.
Introduced in 1958, the cause of Isabelle of Castile was stopped in 1991, one year before the commemoration of the fifth centenary of the discovery of the New World, because of the role she played in the expulsion of the Jews from Spain.
This decision by the Queen of Spain, taken on March 31, 1492, took place in the political context of Spanish unity to be built on a peninsula finally liberated from several centuries of Islamic occupation. The last bastion, Granada, had just fallen on January 2, 1492, marking the end of the Reconquista. This reconquest was based on the true faith, and Isabelle logically wanted to extend the latter in order to complete the endeavor at hand. It was a question of forging the unity of the kingdom.
Encouraged by her confessor, the Dominican Torquemada, himself of Jewish descent, she hoped for massive conversions. She obtained several successes following missionary campaigns and theological disputes which won many Jews. The Rabbi and court consultant Abraham Senior, 81, was baptized in Valladolid on March 31, 1492; Isabelle and her husband, Ferdinand II, were his godfathers.
In such a context, a self-evident fact was obvious to Isabelle, that she translated into a political project: it was in the Catholic faith that the unity of Spain would be realized. Thus, the expulsion of the Jews in 1492 should be linked to that of the Moriscos by Philippe II in 1609, or of the Muslims by Charles V in 1525.
Far from constituting signs of “anti-Semitism” or hatred of Muslims, these decrees are above all the fruit of a political vision in which the Divine Faith is considered as the only bulwark against an ever threatening explosion.
Before ending up on the Pope’s desk, the dossier on Isabelle the Catholic must once again pass through the Caudine forks of the Congregation for the Cause of Saints.