Pope Francis Criticized Britain over Falkland Islands

News emerges that Pope Francis said at a commemoration mass for the Faulkland Islands conflict in 2012 that the land had been "usurped" from Argentina

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REUTERS/Ezequiel Pontoriero/DyN

Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner greets Argentine Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio at the Basilica of Lujan, December 22, 2008.

Today signals the first day of Pope Francis’ reign as the new leader of the Catholic Church, and already the pontiff is faced with a challenge.  As Argentines and Catholics across the globe celebrate the election of the first ever Latin American pope, comments made by the former Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio regarding the Falkland Islands dispute have emerged.

Last April, at a memorial mass in Buenos Aires marking the 30th anniversary of the 1982 Falkland Islands conflict, Cardinal Bergoglio told his followers that they had come together to “pray for those who have fallen, the sons of our homeland who went out to defend their mother country, to reclaim what is theirs of the homeland, that which was usurped from them.” He also spoke of the many young Argentines who never returned from the war, while others “came back but were never able to forget,” writes AciPrensa. Whether or not they fought in the battleground, these young people were scared for life, the Cardinal said. Three years earlier, Cardinal Bergoglio told families of Argentine soldiers killed in the conflict to “go and kiss this land which is ours, and seem to us far away,” notes the Independent.

(MORE: Pope of the Americas)

His words echo those of Cristina Fernández Kirchner, President of Argentina, who in January sent an open letter to the British Prime Minister David Cameron calling on him to honor a United Nations resolution that dates back to 1960 and “end colonialism in all its forms and manifestations,” writes the Guardian. She wrote in the letter that the “Malvinas” (as the islands are known in Argentina) are 8,600 miles away from London and claimed that the Royal Navy had expelled Argentines living on the islands and replaced them with British settlers, a move that, she says, was a “blatant exercise in nineteenth-century colonialism.”

Meanwhile, the inhabitants of the Falkland Islands have expressed surprise at the election of Pope Francis. Monsignor Michael McPartland from St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Stanley admitted this morning that he had never actually heard of Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio until his election as pope was announced on Wednesday, writes the Independent. “I have to say I know nothing of him – I had never heard of him until 24 hours ago. But he is going to create some very interesting reactions,” said Monsignor McPartland.

(PHOTOSThe Rise of Pope Francis, Jorge Mario Bergoglio)

Senior figures from the Falklands have said the pope is welcome to visit the islands so that he can understand the views of its inhabitants. Dick Sawle, an elected legislator from the islands, told the Independent, “In the political sense, the new pope is wrong in what he said. I would hope that as leader of the Catholic Church he would recognize that Christ died so that all men could be equal and accept our rights as individuals here in the Falklands Islands.”

On Sunday, an overwhelming 99.8 percent of Falkland Islands inhabitants voted in favor of remaining an overseas U.K. territory. Just 3 islanders voted “no” to the following question: “Do you wish the Falkland Islands to retain their current political status as an Overseas Territory of the United Kingdom?”

70 comments
GabrielMartinez
GabrielMartinez

foggy isnt what tasmanian, africans , natives from usa and aborigens from australia thing s bout uk, dummy

jerry48
jerry48


the spanish name is derived from the french name " iles Malouines " named by Louis Antoine de Bougainville in 1764 after the first known settlers, mariners and fishermen from the breton port of SAINT MALO in france. So we french could claim it but we won't LOL ! IT IS BRITISH TERRITORY ! VIVE LA REINE !!! END OF STORY !

gregfez8
gregfez8

Britain shall neve be slaves! We won against the Argentine criminals and will do again if necessary. God Save the Queen

adamcooke
adamcooke

by this logic the US should be invading cuba any day now.. oh wait. Maybe the pope should be more concerned with the large majority of pedophiles that institution continues to protect rather than worrying about a little island. A representative of the Cathlic Church talking about imperialism is laughable.

FoggyTheWestie
FoggyTheWestie

The Falkland islanders persecuted no indigenous population, unlike the Spanish forebears of the Argentine 'squatters' (to use Kirchner's term for the Falklanders). Argentina has as much right to the Falklands as the US has to Cuba.

kursatmahir
kursatmahir

@TIME UK is invader of falklands. 1600 voters cannot decide on such a strategic problem. The referendum was a complete PR job. UK deceives.

Petri47
Petri47

@TIME @TIMEWorld Would he be involved in USA firearms control? Let him to get involved in catholic church problems.

hddoger
hddoger

%s %s No, of course not. %s %s

ValerieMoir
ValerieMoir

@TIME the Pope of Rome is a spiritual leader, not a politician. Understand?

joeynavarrete
joeynavarrete

@TIME: Should Pope Francis get involved in the Falkland Islands dispute? (via @TIMEWorld)” Ni que fuera el siglo XVI.

kursatmahir
kursatmahir

@TIME Uk confiscated these islands. 1600 voters cannot decide on it. These people are like army garrison. Uk deceives the world on this.

alisonc09
alisonc09

@TIME NO, need we blur the lines between religion and politics even more??

Iancday
Iancday

@TIME @TIMEWorld the Falklands officially discovered on August 14, 1592 by John Davis, Argentina didn't exist until 1853 - 1861

Iancday
Iancday

@TIME @TIMEWorld There is no dispute, the Islanders want to stay British, dispute over, get over it

Northdallas4
Northdallas4

@TIMEWorld @TIME Pope Francis should stay out of territorial disputes, but he should condemn all violence, including war.

realpeebee
realpeebee

@TIME he should not get involved because that is not his call!

MABeaton
MABeaton

@TIME. Surree. Church and state always works! (Insert shake head here..)

ENB91
ENB91

%s %s Not at all. The islanders chose to be part of the %s not %s

KatyYam
KatyYam

@TIME: Should Pope Francis get involved in the Falkland Islands dispute?\/If he tells the truth, why not?

nicolo_bo
nicolo_bo

Sì, un inizio di papato tranquillo “@TIME: Should Pope Francis get involved in the Falkland Islands dispute? ti.me\/12SRxCZxBN"

Jerry
Jerry

With the new pope hailing from Argentina, the role of the Vatican in the Falklands War might be re-examined.

As is well known, the first ever papal visit to Britain took place thirty years ago in the midst of the Falklands War. The Vatican was compelled by political necessity to follow the British visit with a hastily arranged papal visit to Argentina, otherwise it risked undermining its Latin American base.

The cooperation of the military junta that ruled Argentina and prosecuted the ‘Dirty War’ was needed for the visit. Suggestions that the Pope John Paul cold shouldered the junta during the visit do not match the facts. Two particular photos that appeared in the Catholic press at the time are of particular interest in this regard —

http://www.wallsofjericho.info/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=33&Itemid=68

BritBob
BritBob

The British claimed the Falklands in 1765 - Argentina did not inherit them from Spain. In 1833 the British asked an illegal Argentine garrison to leave the islands but the majority of settlers chose to stay. Only 5 settlers decided to return to what is present day Argentina - this and proximity - 350 miles - forms the basis of Argentina's weak claim - otherwise they would have sought a judgement in the Courts of International Justice by now.

In 2007, Nestor Kirchner voided a 1995 oil and gas exploration deal with the UK. Argentine Foreign Minister Timerman has been attempting to take legal action against British and American companies exploring for hydrocarbons in Falkland waters for the past 14 months but is getting nowhere. This proves two points: (I) the Falklands are British and (II) Argentine politicians can't be trusted.

www.falklandshistory.org/

cgmaisano
cgmaisano

%s %s LAS MALVINAS SON ARGENTINAS %s

PhilippeBouju
PhilippeBouju

As a french citizen, catholic born, I would say: Argentina has a Pope hence the Vatican, so Britain keeps the Falklands, it is just a fair share.

RufusTrotman
RufusTrotman

I think the Pope might struggle to visit the Falkland Islands, not through any objection of the Falkland Islanders.

I would imagine that the Pope has his own plane to take him on all of his visits and government of Argentina has denied the use of its airspace for all flights to and from the Falkland Islands with the exception of a weekly flight run by LAN Chile (on the condition that it stops monthly in Argentina).

I think the only other route is currently via the UK and Ascension Island (the British government runs a flight twice weekly, with priority going to Ministry of Defence personnel (i.e. the garrison) and the Falkland Islanders.