Spectacle and Power: Sites and Spaces of Papal Visits in Spain

  • Rubén C. Lois GonzálezEmail author
  • Belén Castro-Fernández
Part of the Culture and Religion in International Relations book series (CRIR)


Spain as an ideal Catholic nation, standing loyal to the pope, constitutes a conflictual identity construction of Spanish history. While some favorite this blend of Catholic and Spanish identity, others prefer a secular Spanish nation or a Catholic but regional belonging beyond the Spanish nation (Basque, Catalonian). The papacy has to navigate through these different expectations when entering the public spheres of the country. Papal journeys follow a cautious organization of visiting sites and spaces in order to present a spectacle that integrates people without alienating others. Papal power depends also on a success of this exercise. Based on a historical overview of the geneses of Spanish cleavages, the chapter analyzes how John Paul II and Benedict XVI tried to create a papal landscape during their visits. Pope Francis has not yet visited Spain.


Pope Spain Spanish history Papal visits Space Performance 

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rubén C. Lois González
    • 1
    Email author
  • Belén Castro-Fernández
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of GeographyUniversity of Santiago de CompostelaSantiago de CompostelaSpain
  2. 2.Department of Applied DidacticsUniversity of Santiago de CompostelaSantiago de CompostelaSpain

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