The mysterious death of Bishop Irurita

The case of Bishop Irurita had been a puzzle until 1943.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
24 April 2024 Wednesday 04:55
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The mysterious death of Bishop Irurita

The case of Bishop Irurita had been a puzzle until 1943. Brief recap. A few days after the outbreak of the uncivil war, the prelate immediately obtained refuge in the house of Antoni Tort, jeweler of the Mercè church. He kept him hidden until December 1, when some militiamen searched his home, he was arrested and locked up in the Sant Elies prison. On the night of the 3rd to the 4th they shot him in the Montcada i Reixac cemetery; His grave remained unknown. At the end of the war, his remains were said to have been located and identified. So far the first version.

On December 2, 1943, his funeral was solemnly celebrated. Once what they claimed was his body was exhumed, he was taken by car to Barcelona. In the center of Plaza Catalunya a stage had been set up where the great ceremony was to begin. Captain General Moscardó led the large cohort of authorities. The coffin, carried on a litter by priests to the cathedral, was buried in the chapel of Santo Cristo de Lepanto. Doctor Modrego delivered the funeral oration. Obispo Street was then named Irurita and later its sculpture was chiseled by Vicente Navarro. Despite the surname being eliminated in 1982, the monument remained in the niche.

The mystery arises.

At least six reliable witnesses testified that they had recognized Bishop Irurita as he left the episcopal palace; He was running on January 28, 1939. They questioned him, but he firmly rejected the attempt at dialogue.

Suspicions arose and disturbing questions multiplied. Was not the bishop a martyr? Was he ashamed to play dead? Had they hidden him abroad, where he died?

And the enigma prevails.

The conduct of the Vatican was indicative, which until 1943 kept the seat of the bishopric vacant. The canonization process began in 1959, it was reactivated in 1993 and received the nihil obstat in 2002, but was put on hold. To what has been published, the research of Josep M. Ràfols has still added relevant unknowns, which not even DNA has been able to clear up.

What best fits this story that would have fascinated Hitchcock is this quote from Churchill: “A riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.” The Vatican undoubtedly holds the keys.