Argentina's flag is seen as Pope Francis greets people during his general audience in the Paul VI hall at the Vatican Dec. 14, 2022. CNS photo/Vatican Media

Pope Francis won't travel to Argentina if not invited, doctrine prefect says

By  Justin McLellan, Catholic News Service
  • September 19, 2023

VATICAN CITY -- Comments by a leading Argentinian presidential candidate may have dampened hopes that Pope Francis would soon visit his home country for the first time since becoming pope, the prefect of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith said.

Asked in an interview with Spanish media outlet Religión Digital whether Pope Francis would still travel to Argentina despite the comments, fellow Argentine Cardinal-designate Víctor Fernández said, "Surely the pope will not go somewhere where he is not invited, where they can use or complicate his visit for political benefit or where the authorities look down on his presence."

The candidate, Javier Milei, said Pope Francis "has an affinity for communist murderers," naming former Cuban President Fidel Castro and Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro as examples.

In an interview with American media personality Tucker Carlson released Sept. 15, Milei said the pope "plays politics" and "is lenient of those on the left, even if they truly are murderers."

Argentine priests celebrated a community Mass in a poor neighborhood of Argentina Sept. 5 to "make amends" for comments Milei made against the pope while campaigning. Argentina's general elections are scheduled for Oct. 22.

In April, Pope Francis told the Argentine newspaper La Nación that he planned to visit Argentina in 2024, but also asked, "Please don't link me with Argentine politics."

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