© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Argentine Catholics have fun Pope Francis’ tenth anniversary as pontiff throughout a mass on the Basilica de Lujan, in Lujan, Buenos Aires Province, Argentina March 11, 2023. REUTERS/Tomas Cuesta/File Photograph
By Alvise Armellini
VATICAN CITY (Reuters) -Pope Francis on Sunday canonised the primary feminine saint from his native Argentina, an occasion that introduced his former fierce critic, Argentine President Javier Milei, to the Vatican.
Francis led a canonisation Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica for Maria Antonia de Paz y Figueroa, higher generally known as “Mama Antula”, an 18th century consecrated lay girl who renounced her household’s riches to give attention to charity and Jesuit religious workouts.
Milei had a entrance row seat for the service, and on the finish of it, exchanged a couple of phrases with the pope, as they shook palms and hugged. The president is because of have a non-public viewers with Francis on Monday.
The ceremony got here as Argentina faces its worst financial disaster in many years, with inflation at greater than 200%, and the newly put in Milei in problem following parliamentary rejection of a serious reform bundle.
Earlier than he ran for president, Milei, a maverick right-wing libertarian, had insulted Francis in strongly worded feedback, however has softened his tone since taking workplace in December.
The pope “is a very powerful Argentine in historical past”, Milei informed Radio Mitre on Saturday.
In his Argentine radio interview, Milei mentioned he was wanting ahead to “a really fruitful dialogue” with Francis, and hoped that the 87-year-old pontiff’s well being could be adequate to face a visit to Argentina.
Francis, a former archbishop of Buenos Aires who has angered a few of his compatriots by by no means visiting his homeland since changing into pope in 2013, has mentioned he could lastly make the journey within the second half of this 12 months.
‘GIFT TO THE ARGENTINE PEOPLE’
Mama Antula was the daughter of a rich landholder and slave proprietor.
She promoted religious 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.
Francis, himself a Jesuit, described her on Friday as a “present to the Argentine folks and in addition to the complete Church.”
Quoting from his previous writings, the pope condemned the “radical individualism” that permeates society as a “virus”, in phrases which will jar with Milei’s radical free-market instincts.
In his homily on Sunday, he returned to the difficulty of caring for the poor and outcasts, saying “concern, prejudice and false religiosity” lead folks to the “nice injustice” of ignoring the plight of the weak.