Argentina celebrates election of pope
Argentinians are celebrating the announcement of Francis I to become pope. However, there is mixed opinion within the country over the allegations of his involvement with the military junta during the 70s and 80s.
A large crowd gathered outside Buenos Aires Cathedral waving Argentina’s flag and yellow banners representing the Vatican. “This is a great moment for the Argentine Catholic Church,” said one young man in the crowd. “Bergoglio is a very humble man,” the man added, in reference to the pope’s tendency to travel by subway in the city.
But Eduardo de la Serna, coordinator of a left-wing group of priests who focus on the plight of the poor, told station Radio del Plata that he was neither surprised nor pleased at the decision.
“Bergoglio is a man of power and he knows how to position himself among powerful people,” he said, adding: “I still have many doubts about his role regarding the Jesuits who went missing under the dictatorship.”
Despite having clashes with Bergoglio in the past over issues such as same-sex marriage, President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner sent a congratulatory message and wished the new pope well in pursuing “justice, equality and fraternity”.
Roman Catholics make up 70-89% of the population of Argentina, however, the decision came as a shock for the country who presumed Bergoglio’s chances of becoming pope were lost in 2005.