Franco knew that the most perilous time for a regime under the rule of an autocrat was the moment of the autocrat’s death. This would be particularly true where the ruler founded the regime and had been in absolute power for decades. Such was the situation in Spain on November 20, 1975, when Franco died peacefully in his bed. He was as powerful at the end of his rule as he was the day he was given absolute dominion over Spain, “responsible only to God and History.” Franco had governed personally, keeping on a short leash both ideologies (such as those that inspired the Falangists or the Carlists) and organizations (such as the syndicates, the Cortes, the military, or the National Movement) that could develop institutionalized lives of their own. Only the Catholic Church was exempt from the law that controlled all other institutions. Yet under the terms of the Concordat of 1953, Franco even had a role in the selection of the bishops appointed in Spain by the pope: He submitted a short list from which the pope could remove unwanted nominees and add some of his own. Franco then made the final choice from this revised list.