The country that knows Pope Francis the best seems to be the most confused and polarized over His Holiness—Argentina! Welcome to the club.
Whose fault/sin is this, Argentina and the world or His Holiness?
This is from the pope’s successor in Argentina by way of Crux. Very interesting, no?
Though Francis rarely refers in public to Argentina, on Saturday Archbishop Manuel Fernandez of La Plata, often considered one of his ghostwriters, published a post on Facebook asking for the pope to “be left alone” by Argentines, who continue to misinterpret much of what he says, taking it as a direct commentary on his former home.
The prelate’s words came after Argentina’s media spun a papal address to the 20th World Congress of the International Association of Penal Law in Rome Nov. 13-16, in which he spoke against the arbitrary use of “preventive prison.”
The pope’s words, planned at least several weeks in advance, happened to come just hours after Argentina’s Congress set limits to preventive prison requests that could benefit former government officials. (The country’s former president and newly elected vice president, Cristina Kirchner, faces close to a dozen preventive prison requests, but she’s been able to avoid jail by holding office.)
According to Fernandez, “it catches my attention” that everything the pope said is spun as something directed to Argentina, completely disregarding the fact that Francis is a “world leader heard everywhere.”
The archbishop wrote that, despite the fact he’s preparing to go to Japan and Thailand, Argentines believe the pope “spends his time reading Argentine newspapers and thinking about us in everything he says.”
According to Fernandez, local media has found a “crutch” by calling Francis a “populist,” without even knowing what the word means. Populism, he wrote in a Facebook post, is what Matteo Salvini is doing in Italy, taking advantage of society’s xenophobic instincts to gain popularity, but “found a strong stumbling block in the pope’s speech,” who speaks about welcoming migrants.
“It turns out that Trump’s populist wall also found in Francis his strongest opponent,” the archbishop wrote. “But the populist is the pope? They say Francis encourages laziness, when few like him insist on the fact that a fundamental objective of policy is to guarantee that there’s work for everyone so that subsidies aren’t needed.”
Given the manipulation of the pope’s speech and image, the archbishop asks, why would Francis want to go home, “to expose himself and tire needlessly? At his age, he will surely think that he wants to invest the few years he has left. Would it make sense for him to come to surrender to a butcher shop?”
The prelate also said it’s a “paradox” that ultraconservatives, the most fanatical neo-liberals and the “Trotsky-ite left” all attack the pope in Argentina, to later fight among themselves over who keeps the remains.
“I don’t know what he intends to do [about a possible trip] but it seems to me that reality clearly shows what he should not do,” Fernandez said.