He looked down on us from all over the City of Buenos Aires – the newly chosen Pope was awaiting ‘coronation’ and his native Argentina was alive with anticipation. He was the first Pope from a Latin American country and one who claimed he would work for the poor and as you can see from this enterprising street vendor his ascension was helping already! While my travelling companion Cheryl didn’t necessarily share my fascination with the new Pope, she as a non -catholic and me as simply a ‘non’, we were both aware we were visiting BA at an historic moment.
As Pope Francisco Ist has his first visit to Brazil – and ministers to crowds of adoring millions – I’ve been thinking back to the excitement felt in Buenos Aires when he was selected earlier this year. Within hours of the papal conclave’s announcement the Peronist Parties were claiming him as one of their own. You may recall from one of my earlier postings ( https://womanseyeview.me/2013/03/27/dont-cry-for-me-argentina/ ) politics in Argentina are not for the faint of heart or shy. The chutzpah of a Party claiming him as their own is politics as usual in this unique political environment. Outside the Cathedral in BA the faithful and the curious milled around what had been Cardinal Bergoglio’s home turf before he was selected to succeed the retiring Pope Benedict. When he was selected Pope Francisco declared ‘I would like to see a church that is poor and is for the poor’ – such radical sentiments.If you go inside though you immediately see the huge challenge for any Pope deciding the Catholic Church will be a church for the poor!
Even their famous obelisk, on the Avenida Corrientes, was draped in Papal finery.
Huge screens relayed scenes of the Pope and yet more vendors sold instant papal trinkets on the cathedral’s steps. Everyone young, old, innocent or cynical appeared to enjoy their country’s newest star. I’ve long admired the liberation theology wing of the Catholic church, rooted in Latin America – those who stand with the poor and have a clear class analysis. His Papal predecessors worked hard to clear those priests from the church – could we see Francisco resurrecting that noble tradition? Some of his pronouncements in Brazil have been inspiring. The Pope and me … could yet see eye to eye one day!