Challenge of a continent

With an Argentinian Pope at the helm of the Catholic Church, populist politicians in Latin America are doing their best to enlist him in order to promote their agendas.

Within a week of Francis’ election, the Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro claimed that the new Pope’s statements on the “option for the poor” were, in fact, inspired by Hugo Chávez from Heaven.

Argentina’s President Cristina Fernández Kirchner, whose relationship with Archbishop Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio was conspicuously lacking in warmth, announced after her first meeting with him as Pope that she had asked him to mediate in Argentina’s long-standing quarrel with Britain over the Falklands Islands (or Malvinas).

The Vatican remained diplomatically silent on this but Fernández has since paid a number of visits to Pope Francis in Rome.

By contrast, the Vatican has accepted a request from the Government of Venezuela, as well as from the Opposition, the Democratic Unity Table (Mud), to mediate a deal that would end the violence that has plagued the country for more than four months.

Originally, the request was for Cardinal Pietro Parolin, former apostolic nuncio to Venezuela and now the Vatican Secretary of State, to mediate.

Not surprisingly to those who know him, Parolin seems to have made himself respected and liked during his time in Caracas.

He is sure to remain involved, but the actual “witnessing” of the Government-Opposition talks is being done by his successor as nuncio, Archbishop Aldo Giordano.

So far, the talks have yielded no results. Continue reading.

Source: The Tablet

Image: PRI

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