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Pope canonises first feminine Argentine saint earlier than assembly with Milei

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Argentina’s President Javier Milei and Argentine Foreign Minister Diana Mondino meet with Pope Francis on the Vatican February 11, 2024.
| Photo Credit: Reuters

Pope Francis elevated to sainthood the primary feminine saint from his native Argentina on February 11, an occasion that dropped at the Vatican his former vocal critic, Argentine President Javier Milei.

Mr. Milei, a right-wing libertarian, known as Pope Francis an “imbecile” and accused him of “preaching communism” earlier than he ran for president, however has softened his tone since taking workplace in December.

The Pope, for his half, has stated he didn’t pay an excessive amount of consideration to the insults, telling Mexican broadcaster N+ that what issues is what politicians do in workplace, quite than on the marketing campaign path.

Pope Francis led a canonisation Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica for Maria Antonia de Paz y Figueroa, higher often called “Mama Antula”, an 18th century consecrated lay lady who renounced her household’s riches to give attention to charity and Jesuit non secular workouts.

The ceremony got here as Argentina faces its worst financial disaster in many years, with inflation at greater than 200%, and after the nation’s parliament rejected Mr. Milei’s main reform package deal.

Mr. Milei had a entrance row seat for the service, and on the finish of it, exchanged just a few phrases with the pope, as they shook palms and hugged. The President is because of have a personal viewers with the Pope on Feb. 12.

Pope Francis, a former archbishop of Buenos Aires who has angered a few of his compatriots by by no means visiting his homeland since turning into the Pope in 2013, has stated he could lastly make the journey within the second half of this yr.

‘Great injustice’ of ignoring the weak

Mama Antula was the daughter of a rich landholder and slave proprietor. She promoted non secular workouts, together with prayers and meditation, strolling 1000’s of kilometres barefoot and involving the wealthy and poor in these endeavours, regardless of the Jesuits being banished on the time from Latin America.

Pope Francis, himself a Jesuit, described her on Friday as a “gift to the Argentine people and also to the entire Church.”

Quoting from his previous writings, he condemned the “radical individualism” that permeates society as a “virus”, in phrases which will jar with Mr. Milei’s radical free-market instincts.

In his homily on Sunday, he returned to the difficulty of caring for the poor and outcasts, saying “fear, prejudice and false religiosity” led folks to the “great injustice” of ignoring the plight of the weak.

On Jan. 12, wrapping up a week-long abroad tour that took him to Israel earlier than Italy and the Vatican, Mr. Milei can be because of meet Italy’s President Sergio Mattarella and Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni.

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