PopeWatch: Evita



A new book has new details about the early life of Pope Francis, including a brief meeting with Eva Peron:


– Buenos Aires, September 26 – Pope Francis had a youthful brush with Evita Peron in Buenos Aires, according to a new book relating little-known details of Jorge Mario Bergoglio’s life, especially two formative spells in the city of Cordoba. “I saw Eva on one occasion when I went with my brother into a ‘unidad basica’ (Peronist chapter) looking for booklets for a piece of work in school,” Francis told the authors of ‘Quel Francesco’ (That Francis), Javier Camara and Sebastian Pfaffen, who handed the pope a copy in the Vatican Thursday.
    “She was there, she greeted us,” said the former archbishop of Buenos Aires.
    The only time the young Bergoglio saw Evita’s husband Juan Peron, he says in the book, was “when I had to go as school rep to the Teatro Colon for a meeting about education”.
    Quel Francesco delves into two times Francis lived in Cordoba and his encounters with various political groups, including “left-leaning” ones as well as Peronists. The first, when he was a novice of the Company of Jesus (the Jesuits), spans 1958-1960.
    “In March 1958 he arrived from Buenos Aires accompanied by his parents to enter into the novitiate of the ‘Sagrada Familia'”, the book relates, telling of the young man’s expectations.
    Later, the authors describe the future pope’s development – as well as “dark” patches – as a Jesuit priest between 1990 and 1992, before he was appointed auxiliary bishop of Buenos Aires.
    On the political front, Francis reveals, “I have always been restless”.
    “During my teen years I had made an incursion into left-leaning circles,” he says, revealing that he accompanied young people of various political inclinations, including “obviously also Peronists”.
    But the pope stresses: “I never joined any party”. However, he cites similarities between “aspects of the Peronist doctrine and the Church’s social doctrine. “Those periods in Cordoba, to a certain extent, engendered spiritual solidity,” Francis reveals.

Go here to read the rest.  It is incredible to PopeWatch that a year and a half after he became Pope, the details of the life of Francis still come out fitfully in dribs and drabs, and despite his enormous celebrity, there seems to be precious little interest in these details, although PopeWatch believes they are vital in understanding the Pope.


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  1. “On the political front, Francis reveals, ‘I have always been restless’.”

    Then he should have entered politics and not the priesthood. Thus, part of the problem.

  2. ” But the pope stresses: “I never joined any party”. However, he cites similarities between “aspects of the Peronist doctrine and the Church’s social doctrine. “Those periods in Cordoba, to a certain extent, engendered spiritual solidity,” Francis reveals.”
    “the Church’s social doctrine…” The Church as the Body of Christ, all persons, laity, priesthood, Church Militant, Church Triumphant, Church in Purgatory or Suffering, all persons ever created are the Church, the Body of Christ. The individuals in the Body of Christ must each determine their ability, their God-given ability to advance social Justice. It is not the determination of anyone else, not the hierarchy, nor the state nor the bureaucracy to determine the ability of the sovereign person to establish social Justice among the people, but it is the province of the individual sovereign person. It is the dignity of the human person to establish social Justice…without coercion, without edict, nor guilt, nor extortion. It is sovereign person who must be trusted to do God’s will, like OUr Lady.
    Now, when Pope Francis speaks of ” The Church”, Pope Francis speaks of doctrine. The doctrines of the Church are contemplated by the saints and desired by the suffering and searched for by the militant. The doctrine of the Church, in so many Gospels, speaks of giving “the widow’s two mites”, “the temple tax” to be found in the fish’s mouth, but the Gospels never speak of the extortion of the money changers in the temple except to tell of their being driven from the temple by Christ.
    Jesus Christ practiced “social Justice” as an individual human being, never as a group, nor state, nor even church. Pope Francis must speak as the Vicar of Christ on earth, infallibly ex-cathedra, in union with his bishops to determine orthodox doctrine. “Nice programs”, unless funded out of Pope Francis’ private money, cannot be supported by anyone else. Everything that the Vatican has and is, is held in trust of all future generations and the whole church, militant, suffering and triumphant.
    In an afterthought, all the people of the world have the Catholic Church as their own, and are free to enjoy the Vatican treasures and Pope Francis.

  3. There are a lot of similarities with Obama’s rise to the presidency, insofar as reasonable inquiry into Obama’s ideological history was stifled by the press because it might be misunderstood by the people, and the people might draw the wrong conclusions about the future predicted by Obama’s past and wrongfully resist his fundamental transformation of America.

  4. Mary De Voe wrote, ““Nice programs”, unless funded out of Pope Francis’ private money, cannot be supported by anyone else”

    That is not how the Church has traditionally operated.

    To begin with an ordinance of Charlemagne, as King of the Franks, in a general assembly of his Estates, spiritual and temporal, in 778-779 – “Concerning tithes, it is ordained that every man give his tithe, and that they be dispensed according to the bishop’s commandment.” A Capitular for Saxony in 789 appointed tithes to be paid out of all public property, and that all men, “whether noble, or gentle, or of lower degree, should give according to God’s commandment, to the churches and priests, of their substance and labour : as God has given to each Christian, so ought he to repay a part to God.” A Capitular of 800 made the payment of tithes universal within the fiscal domain of the whole Frankish kingdom. Pope Leo III and the assembled bishops greeted this enactment with loud and repeated cries of “Life and victory to our ever-august Emperor!”

    From this time onwards, therefore, we may say the civil law superseded any merely spiritual admonitions as to the payment of tithes. Their payment was no longer a religious duty alone; it was a legal obligation, enforceable by the laws of the civil head of Christendom.
    Just over a thousand years later, the dîme was abolished by the French Revolution in 1789.

  5. “That is not how the Church has traditionally operated.”

    And what a mistake that has been. Once Caesar is paying the freight for the Church he will always be trying to take control over the Church. Not to mention the ill will this created among the Laity where a voluntary tithe was transmuted into just another tax they must pay. The Church and Mammon have always gotten along quite poorly.

  6. Donald R McClarey wrote, “Once Caesar is paying the freight for the Church he will always be trying to take control over the Church.”
    The history of the Church under the Empire belies this. As Bl John Henry Newman wrote, “As regards the Roman Emperors, immediately on their becoming Christians, their exaltation of the hierarchy was in proportion to its abject condition in the heathen period. Grateful converts felt that they could not do too much in its honour and service. Emperors bowed the head before the Bishops, kissed their hands and asked their blessing. When Constantine entered into the presence of the assembled Prelates at Nicæa, his eyes fell, the colour mounted up into his cheek, and his mien was that of a suppliant; he would not sit, till the Bishops bade him, and he kissed the wounds of the Confessors. Thus he set the example for the successors of his power, nor did the Bishops decline such honours. Royal ladies served them at table; victorious generals did penance for sin and asked forgiveness. When they quarrelled with them, and would banish them, their hand trembled when they came to sign the order, and after various attempts they gave up their purpose. Soldiers raised to sovereignty asked their recognition and were refused it. Cities under imperial displeasure sought their intervention, and the master of thirty legions found himself powerless to withstand the feeble voice of some aged travel-stained stranger.
    Laws were passed in favour of the Church; Bishops could only be judged by Bishops, and the causes of their clergy were withdrawn from the secular courts. Their sentence was final, as if it were the Emperor’s own, and the governors of provinces were bound to put it in execution. Litigants everywhere were allowed the liberty of referring their causes to the tribunal of the Bishops, who, besides, became arbitrators on a large scale in private quarrels; and the public, even heathens, wished it so.”
    In later times, the Church in France had no more zealous defenders of her liberties and immunities than her kings, whose proudest title was « roi très-Chrétien. »

  7. Complete rot MPS. To begin with the Emperors were continually interfering with the Church from the time of Constantine on. It was fortunate for the Popes indeed that the Empire in the West expired. Then of course the Popes recreated the Empire in the West as the Holy Roman Empire and spent the next 1000 years fighting against the Emperors. As for the Kings of France, please! Gallicanism is a very old heresy indeed. Saint Louis is an exception to a very long run of French Kings who sought to have a conservatorship over Mother Church in France.

  8. I love the writings of Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman as well as the Blessed himself, but I must say, the citation from his work (which one MPS?) stuns me in its naivete and inaccuracy of the Patristic era alone. I won’t even get into the French kings. I am with you on this one Donald

  9. Botolph
    The citation from Bl John Henry Newman is from “the Ancient Church,” which forms the second chapter of his “Letter to the Duke of Norfolk.” That letter was a response to certain remarks of Mr Gladstone on the declaration of Papal Infallibility.
    In the same chapter, the reverend and eminent author writes, “The populations of the Empire did not rise in revolt when its religion was changed. There were two broad conditions which accompanied the grant of all this ecclesiastical power and privilege, and made the exercise of it possible; first, that the people consented to it, secondly, that the law of the Empire enacted and enforced it. Thus high and low opened the door to it. The Church of course would say that such prerogatives were justly hers, as being at least congruous grants made to her, on the part of the State, in return for the benefits which she bestowed upon it. It was her right to demand them, and the State’s duty to concede them. This seems to have been the basis of the new state of society.”
    We sometimes overlook the fact that Bl John Henry Newman was a great ecclesiastical historian and few were so familiar with the history of the Church in the Eastern Empire, from the Peace of the Church to the reign of Justinian. His “Trials of Theodoret” is, perhaps, his masterpiece. http://tinyurl.com/log7ju5

  10. Botolph wrote, “I won’t even get into the French kings. I am with you on this one Donald.”

    Through 40 reigns, the French Kings, with few exceptions, combined piety and policy in ensuring that the clergy formed a counterpoise to the power of a military aristocracy. Every grant of land or jurisdiction to a bishop or a monastery weakened that power, a power finally broken by two great ecclesiastical statesmen, Richelieu and Mazarin, who ensured that, henceforth, the King of France was master in his own house.

    On the international scene, the papacy would have been reduced to the status of a Habsburg chaplaincy, without the House of Valois’s interventions in Italy; later, this was the guiding principle of French policy in the Thirty Years War.

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