The archbishop of Grenada, Archbishop Francisco Javier Martínez, announced that the bishops of the ecclesiastical province of Grenada have unanimously approved the reopening of the beatification process of Queen Isabella the Catholic.
The bishops of southern Spain met in Cordoba for their ordinary assembly on May 22 and 23, 2018. The bishops of the province of Sevilla, who were also present, also unanimously voted to reopen the process.
The life of Isabella of Castile is closely connected with the archdiocese of Grenada. The Reconquista was completed under her reign with the surrender of Boabdil, the last Emir of Grenada, on January 2, 1492. And her remains lie in the crypt of the city’s Royal Chapel, alongside those of her husband Ferdinand. Pilgrims and visitors come by the thousands every year to honor the memory of these two sovereigns whom the pope called “very Catholic kings”.
Isabella died on November 26, 1504. Every year on this day, the Royal Chapel commemorates the event with a Mass of thanksgiving for this queen who distinguished herself by so wisely governing her kingdom and evangelizing the New World.
It remains to be seen whether the beatification process will be completed this time. In 1999 and 2003, previous initiatives caused some turmoil in Spain and Latin America, causing them to be abandoned.
Those opposed to her beatification reproach Isabella with helping to establish the Inquisition in the country and for her attitude towards the Jews and Muslims. It is true that after eight centuries of Muslim occupation, she well understood the necessity of uniting her kingdom around the Catholic Faith.
But with time, the black legend of Isabella of Castile is disappearing thanks to the work of serious historians, who are revealing the image of a queen who united an authentic mystical life with a true political talent, doing justice and making prudent decision on temporal matters. She distinguished herself by her zeal for the most destitute, particularly the Native Americans, whom she made a point of treating as real subjects, solicitous both of their rights and of their conversion.