Pope Francis has declared that "the English" have “resolved" calls for Scottish independence.

The pontiff made the assessment in an interview with Spanish newspaper ABC on the subject of Catalan independence from Spain. 

Despite several recent polls showing majority support for independence, the Pope suggested the issue had reached its conclusion.

Asked whether Catalan priests should get involved in politics, Pope Francis advised that any priests who may wish to do so to “leave the priesthood and become a politician", while assuring that “the Church cannot make propaganda for one side or the other”.

Reflecting on the relationship between Catalonia and Spain, he insisted on finding a solution to the conflict and added that the situation is not unique.

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When recounting some of the resolutions that have been adopted in other countries, His Holiness mentioned the situation involving “the English” and Scotland.

He said: “Spain is not the only case in the world. Each country has to find its historical path to solve these problems.

"There is no single solution. Some regions have obtained preferential statutes as a way to solve these problems and in others divisions were made, and a new country emerged. Is now the time for the definitive solution for Catalonia? I do not know. That is for you to say.

"A couple of years ago we saw the courage of two prime ministers to solve the problem in North Macedonia. In Italy we have an area in the north, the Alto Adige, with its own statute where German and Italian are spoken … and the English resolved the requests from Scotland ‘the English way’.”

The National: The pontiff made the assessment in an interview with Spanish newspaper ABCThe pontiff made the assessment in an interview with Spanish newspaper ABC

It is the second time Pope Francis has effectively entered the Scottish independence debate, after he issued a guarded warning about national division in an interview with Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia back in 2014.

Asked specifically about the conflict between Spain and Catalonia, he said: "All division worries me.”

But he also cited other political independence movements emerging in Europe, such as in Scotland and northern Italy's Padania, adding that they needed further study.

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Speaking to La Vanguardia, he added: "There is independence for emancipation and there is independence for secession.

"We think of the old Yugoslavia, where there are peoples and cultures so diverse that they are completely unconnected.

"The Yugoslav case is very clear but I ask myself if things are quite as clear in the other communities that have been together up to now.

"They should be studied on a case-by-case basis. Scotland, Padania, Catalonia. There will be cases that are right and ones that are not."