In order to interpret the events described on the previous page, it is essential to place them in the context of the vicissitudes of the pontificate of Bishop Puigllat, rich in tense relations with his clergy. Fr. Coll Mn. Escolá - creator and director of the Marian bibliographical academy of Lérida, Palau's collaborator in the popular missions -, the vicar general of the diocese, etc. These are just some of the allusive rings in a chain of conflicts that shook the pontificate of this bishop. All of them appealed against him, thus hindering the very life of the diocese. The vicar general was dismissed by the bishop, who did not allow anyone to have his own opinions: "...".I would not have come to know this clergy before I arrived here.." -he said with a victim's attitude.

Tired of all this support, Palau decided to take legal action to clarify his position for all to see. He asked the parish priest of Aytona for help. At the same time, the Palau family requested an audience with the bishop; they wanted to defend their brother, as they believed the criticisms levelled against him were unjust. The bishop neither granted it, nor did he deign to reply. Thank God, there were more educated people!

Palau was to preach the Carmel novena in Tarragona. When he did not receive it, he requested the legalisation of the office, instructed by the bishop. As he did not respond, he proposed an alternative: the amicable revocation of the censure or the acceptance of the legal route. Before the metropolitan of Tarragona, of course, he could decide!

He waited for a long time and to no avail. He did not get a reply either. Palau enclosed a copy of the dossier, which he intended to present in Tarragona. This way he could keep up to date with everything, honoured and loyal to the end! Perhaps it was Palau's decision to turn to the metropolitan that changed Puigllat's attitude on this issue.

True, in order to convict him, objective conditions were required: real, external, serious and consummated crime. And this could not be proved in Francisco. Nor was he stubborn or obstinate, for he had repeatedly humbled himself and asked for forgiveness, without ever receiving a reply.

Without knowing why, in 1868, Puigllat granted him the faculties, and did not insist on the matter again; but he did not forget what had happened. He enquired, until he found out, whether Palau had lodged an appeal with the metropolitan.

He once stated: My predecessor wrote terrible things to me about him.. As we can see, one and the other rained down a copious rain of falsehoods on this man of the Church. At the base we detect a lot of hostility and resentment against him, what a pity, what useless suffering!

Palau's preaching in some villages in the diocese of Lérida the following year showed the favourable reception of the prelate. Shortly before this, construction had begun in Aytona on a children's school under the auspices of our protagonist. This was an important work of religious and cultural promotion for the benefit of his fellow citizens, who were grateful for it.

Events that are supposed to have normalised relations until Puigllat's death in 1870. Normality continued during the vicar's government. In the last years of his life, Palau made frequent visits to his native town.

At last, Puigllat's problem with Palau was radically settled. The hostility disappeared, the positive outlook increased, as the bishop changed his position; he even became a defender of the religious communities.

In this transitory journey of ours, everything is relative. Including the most lurid situations, even those that cause us so much suffering, war, pandemics, if only! We trust.

Share This