Putting insults aside, Argentina’s Milei hails ‘favorable relationship’ with pope By Reuters


© Reuters. Pope Francis fulfills Argentine President Javier Milei at the Vatican, February 12, 2024. Vatican Media/ Handout by means of REUTERS


By Alvise Armellini

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) -Bearing pastries and presents, Argentina’s President Javier Milei pertained to the Vatican to hold his very first main conference with his compatriot Pope Francis on Monday, as he looked for to make up with the pontiff he has actually long derided.

Milei, a radical conservative libertarian, had actually loaded insults on Francis throughout his vote project in 2015, calling him an “imbecile who safeguards social justice”. However the president has actually moved tone in workplace as he attempts to support assistance amongst his conservative Catholic base amidst installing obstacles.

Francis and Milei promoted about one hour, the Vatican stated, including that the president discussed his strategies to take on Argentina’s recession in different talks with the pope’s deputy, Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin.

In an interview with Italian broadcaster Rete 4, Milei stated he and the pope “began to construct a favorable relationship” after he understood the pontiff was “the most essential Argentine in all of Argentina, the leader of the world’s Catholics”.

” As an outcome, I needed to reevaluate some positions,” he stated.

In the interview, to be relayed later Monday, Milei explained himself as a Catholic who practices Judaism “a bit”. His entourage in Rome and Israel, where he went recently, consisted of an orthodox Jewish rabbi who is his spiritual consultant and candidate for Argentina’s ambassador to Israel.

Milei and the pope satisfied as Argentina faces its worst recession in years, with inflation at more than 200% and the newly-installed president in problem following parliamentary rejection of a significant reform bundle.

Before the talks, when inquired about the previous insults, the head of the Vatican’s teaching workplace stated the pope “is an individual who has a great deal of love for everybody, so there’s no concern about him having any bitterness”.

The pope had actually seen the previous remarks “as a project technique” Cardinal Victor Manuel Fernandez, who is likewise Argentine, informed reporters. Even if the pope might not like “some political and ideological patterns” in Argentina, “he will constantly be worried about those who suffer,” he included.


Francis, a previous archbishop of Buenos Aires, has actually outraged a few of his compatriots by not visiting his homeland given that ending up being pope in 2013.

He has actually stated he might lastly take a trip to “suffering” Argentina in the 2nd half of this year – though Cardinal Fernandez stated on Monday it was uncertain whether the papal journey would occur “since it depends upon a great deal of things”.

Protecting such a go to might be significant increase to Milei as he looks for to please his conservative Catholic fans.

Francis has actually formerly stated he did not wish to be politically made use of by Argentine political leaders. On Friday, he stated “extreme individualism” penetrates society like a “infection”, in words that might container with Milei’s extreme free-market impulses.

However the conferences on Monday and more casual discussions previously over the weekend appeared to work out.

Milei brought alfajores de dulce de leche pastries and a brand name of lemon biscuits the pope likes, governmental representative Manuel Adorni stated.

On Sunday, they talked at the end of a canonisation Mass in St Peter’s Basilica for the very first female Argentine saint, Maria Antonia de Paz y Figueroa, an 18th century consecrated ordinary female much better referred to as “Mother Antula”.

Francis, who is 87 and has problem strolling, remained in a wheelchair as he went to welcome Milei after the service. He smiled, extended his hand and informed him, “You cut your hair!”

Milei, who still uses his hair unconventionally wish for a political leader, joked about having actually tidied up his act and asked if he might hug and kiss the pope. A smiling Francis responded: “Yes, child, yes”.

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