Argentines fully understand Pope Francis’ continues to be a key force in his homeland’s local politics. Meanwhile, President Mauricio Macri argued the political preferences of the pope — who as Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio was the very politically engaged archbishop of Buenos Aires from 1998 to 2013 — were not that hard to discern.
Pope Francis’ image of a humble servant belies a smooth operator who continues to be a key force in Argentina politics. The pontiff’s less-than-cordial relationship with President Macri has long fueled rumours of a “Peronist pope.” Earlier, the first phase of a critical midterm vote that is substantial to Macri’s future, the pontiff’s every call and comment is being scrutinized here for its electoral value.
In other words, In Argentina, Pope is still powerful political figure. Macri’s critic and close personal friend of the pontiff’s, meanwhile, has seemingly eliminated the middleman and, in effect, turned Francis’ writings — which he says call for “societies that guarantee land, housing and work for all” — into the campaign platform for his “Peronism for the Common Good” campaign.
Pope Francis and Macri’s donation: 666 scandal
The two leading Argentines have a difficult relationship, with the Pope thought to oppose Mr Macri’s austerity policies. Last June, Pope Francis even has turned down a donation of 16,666,000 pesos (£860,000) from the Argentine government. This amount should help to the Scholas Occurentes educational foundation, which is supported by the pontiff.
According to the Vatican Insider news organisation, he wrote to the Argentinian branch of the foundation, stating in a very diplomatic and laconic manner:
“I don’t like the 666.”