In deeply personal letter, Pope Francis asks Argentina faithful for prayers and forgiveness

From Vatican News: 

The letter, which is written in Spanish, is essentially a thank you note for the greetings and prayers he received from the people of Argentina on the 5th anniversary of his election to the papacy. These expressions of goodwill came not only from the country’s authorities but, in Pope Francis’ own words, “from people of different religious, political and ideological backgrounds.”

In the second paragraph of the letter, which was made public by the Argentine Bishops’ Conference at the Pope’s request, Pope Francis adds a very personal note when he speaks of his “great and intense” love of his country for which, he says, “I pray every day”. He goes on to ask forgiveness of “those who may be offended by some of my gestures”. “Although God entrusted me with such an important task, and helps me,” explains the Pope, “He did not free me from human frailty”. 

Pope Francis invites his fellow Argentinians to participate in his mission, when he suggests: “If ever you are pleased about things I do well, I want you to feel like they are your own. You are my people, the people who trained me, prepared me, and offered me to serve others… Remember the Lord has called one of you to bring a message of faith, mercy, and fraternity to many corners of the earth.”

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Crux gives context: 

Ever since his election, and despite the fact that 80 percent of his countrymen have a positive view of Francis, he has been a divisive figure in Argentina, particularly in the media and among politicians, many of whom have pilgrimaged to Rome for a picture with the pontiff. The long list includes members of this government and the previous one, both in official and unofficial capacities.

For instance, former president Cristina Kirchner, who once dubbed then Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio as the leader of the opposition, met with Francis seven times. It’s been widely reported in Argentine newspapers that the motor behind those meetings was fear for the country’s democracy, and he’s avoided her ever since.

On the other hand, he’s only met with Macri three times since he was elected pope, and only once since the former mayor of Buenos Aires became president in late 2015. Few Argentines forget that the meeting lasted only 22 minutes.

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