The Pope and Argentina’s President: Friends at Last?

Though the President of Argentina was the first world leader received by the Argentine Pope, the two have a rough history

  • Share
  • Read Later
L'Osservatore Romano / AP

Pope Francis meets Argentine President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner at the Vatican on March 18, 2013

The first head of state received by Pope Francis was President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner of his native Argentina. The meeting Monday was outwardly warm and relaxed, the two exchanging gifts in front of the cameras before retiring for a private lunch. But the sunny smiles could not obscure the fact that their relationship until now has been a stormy one. In his role as Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio had reportedly asked Fernández for a meeting 14 times since she became President in 2007. She turned him down each time. She made a point of leaving Buenos Aires every year on Argentina’s Independence Day, July 9, to avoid being present at the traditional Te Deum Mass said by Bergoglio at Buenos Aires Cathedral, a ceremony previous Presidents never failed to attend.

(PHOTOS: The Installation of Pope Francis)

Though Roman Catholicism remains Argentina’s official religion and abortion remains illegal, President Fernández helped legalize gay marriage in 2010 — much to Bergoglio’s anger. She once joked that it was a shame that women couldn’t be Pope because she would run against him for the position. Meanwhile, his homilies indicate that he is opposed to her changing the country’s constitution to seek a third term in office.

(PHOTOS: Catholics in Latin America Rejoice Pope Francis)

His clashes with the Argentine President illuminate his conservative credentials, which do not stray from the doctrines held by the previous Pope and the rest of the Vatican. She championed contraception while he echoed loudly the church’s zero-tolerance policy. “A pregnant woman is not carrying a toothbrush in her womb, or a tumor,” he declared. “Science shows us that the entire genetic code is present from the moment of conception. It’s not therefore a religious issue but scientifically based morality, because we are in the presence of a human being.” He said that many women suffer from guilty consciences after going through abortions. “You need to be in the confession box and listen to those giant dramas because they know they have killed their child.”

In his attacks on the legalization of gay marriage, he was virulent in opposition, writing in a letter to Argentine priests, “Let’s not be naive. It’s not a mere political struggle. It’s a destructive attempt against the plan of God.” He said that gay marriage represents “the envy of the Devil, bringing sin to the world. It’s a clever attempt to destroy the image of God, man and woman, who have received the mandate to prosper, multiply and rule the earth.”

MORE: Viewpoint: New Shepherd, Same Wandering Flock

5 comments
SergioOtaño
SergioOtaño like.author.displayName 1 Like

The animosity against Cardinal Bergoglio, now Pope Fracis has no relation whatsoever with gay marriage. Bergoglio is a very austere man, works for the poor and rides public transportation. In contrast, Cristina Kirchner and previously her husband lead a populist regime using the lees fortunate in their speeches but hardly improving their lives by concrete action. That was the main criticism from Bergoglio to the Argentine regimen and the reason of the dispute.

jm379
jm379

No offense or bigotry intended but Latin originated and devoloped in Italy by ancient Rome and the Vatican itself and its part of the Italians  heritage for over 2000 years how did this term now end up being used exclusively and made into a racial category for Spanish speaking peoples especially of the Western Hemisphere within the past few decades plus corrupted into Latino when Latin didnt come from them, neither are most of them of the Latin stock, nor did they ever speak it.

DanWPB
DanWPB like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

@jm379 Latin or latino, refers to people from Latinamerica, which includes most of the countries from South America, Central America, some Caribbean, and Mexico. Latinamerica is prefered to Hispanoamerica, as Latinoamerica includes not only Spanish speaking countries, but also, Portuguese, and French (like Brazil and Haiti), and latin in this case refers to the origin of these languages (Spanish, French, and Portuguese are language with a great influence of Latin, the language of the Roman Empire),. That is why in some forms you are asked first if you are Latino or Hispanic, and then your actual race (black, white, asiatic, etc,). The problem arises in American English, and some people stereotyping, thinking that since in the US most Latinos are from Mexico rural areas that came to work, they think that all latinos should look like them, but actually Latinos are as diverse as Americans (meaning North Americans), originally mostly Spanish and Portuguese colonies, with immigration from Europe, Asia, and Africa.

juepucta
juepucta like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

@jm379 no pedantry intended on top of your unintended bigotry but you know exactly what the author means. part of the problem stems from a certain country hijacking the term "american". latino is cultural, never racial. you can be white/black/jewish/japanese and latino at the same time. and yes, within the church one of the strongholds is the latino population, or i should say the (true) americans born somewhere between the canadian north pole and tierra del fuego in argentina.

funny how your two posts are no bigotry intended bs.