VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis held an informal, private meeting and lunch with Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner March 18.
The previous day, the pope met with the superior general of the Jesuits, Father Adolfo Nicolas, but the Vatican released no information about that meeting.
The closed-door meeting with Fernandez was held in the Vatican’s Domus Sanctae Marthae residence March 18. The meeting lasted about 15-20 minutes, said the Vatican spokesman, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi.
The pope also greeted Fernandez’s presidential delegation at the residence, where he is living until the papal apartment has been renovated.
Father Lombardi told journalists there would be no official communique from the Vatican about the meeting since the encounter was “very informal.”
Pope Francis and “Los Kirchner” — Fernandez and her late husband, former President Nestor Kirchner — occasionally clashed over social issues such as gay marriage and abortion. During one Mass for public officials, Pope Francis criticized perceived corruption, and the presidential couple reportedly began attending Mass outside the city. Nestor Kirchner, who died in 2010, served as president 2003-2007, when he was succeeded by Fernandez.
However, Pope Francis also spoke out against corruption in governments prior to the 2001 Argentine economic crisis, said Sergio Berensztein, an independent political analyst in Buenos Aires.
“Cristina never tolerated that (Cardinal Jorge Mario) Bergoglio was a person so prestigious, influential and critical of them,” Berensztein said.
“They never tolerated limits being put on their power, and Bergoglio represented a significant limit.”
He said he expected the relationship to change as Pope Francis assumes his new position.
“Bergoglio is a very generous person, and I’m sure that his meeting Cristina is a manifestation of his … new role,” he said.
Contributing to this story was David Agren in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
In a time to build, CatholicPhilly.com connects people and communities
As society emerges from the loss and separation of the pandemic, CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you join in our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103