PopeWatch: Down Argentine Way

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PopeWatch has long believed that one of the keys to understanding Pope Francis is that he is an Argentinian,  a very unique country whose tempestuous history has been dominated by outsized personalities.  Here is an intriguing comment about the leadership style of Pope Francis by Nicolás Tereschuk which appeared in The Buenos Aires Herald:

As a bishop in Buenos Aires, Jorge Bergoglio pursued a conservative agenda critical of the “leftist” turn made by Néstor and Cristina Kirchner. But known for his “Peronist-style” leadership the priest’s strategy cannot be understood only in terms of the “right or left” spectrum. The question a man like Bergoglio asks himself is more like “how do I get to lead this organization?”, and not “how do I impose my own views in full to this organization?” In other words, with an institution without a real left for so many years — the last dictatorship and John Paul II views did the work — the biggest threat to Bergoglio was on the far right — an elitist conservative right. Behaving like quite a fierce challenger of the “red” Kirchners allowed Bergoglio to lead the Argentine Church and become papabile.

Now as Peter’s successor, the pendulum of power has swayed again for Bergoglio. To my own surprise — not everybody’s I must admit— it moved to the left. He does not seem that worried now about the conservative agenda he pushed in Buenos Aires, and his words sound more Latin American, younger, more progressive. Again, this should not be taken into account without noting the main fact. Bergoglio is now at the top of the organization he’s belonged to his entire life. He can neutralize his internal enemies best with this “liberal” shift than by being more conservative. It is also important to keep in mind that his former fellow cardinals gave him a task: get the Church out of a financial and political crisis, and clean its image as a first step to prepare it for the next two thousand years to come.

Go here to read the rest.  Pope Francis often comes across as a simple, good hearted, perhaps sometimes confused, character.  PopeWatch believes that he is a good deal shrewder than that and that he is pursuing a plan that he has laid out.   Read up on Argentinian political history if one really wants to understand this papacy.


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  1. Two good places to start to understand Francis are “Francis, A Pope For Our Time” by Luis Rosales and Daniel Olivera and the blog of Marilena Stuart http://romancatholicworld.worldpress.com/the-blog/ These three writers look at Francis from different perspectives, but come to the same conclusions about the man. They all see him as someone who has been deeply influenced by Peronism and communism, and that he emphasizes with the liberal wing of the church. I’d highly recommend that TAC readers go to Mrs. Stuart’s blog to get some very good analysis’s of Pope Francis’s actions and policies from a conservative Catholic viewpoint. The book is basically a puff piece by two guys who are in love with the Pope, but it’s important to read to understand the mentality of those who are frantic over Francis.

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