Argentina’s president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner has reversed a government decision to organize a “multi-religious ceremony” and will instead attend the traditional Te Deum ceremony, which commemorates important political changes that took place in Buenos Aires on May 25, 1810.
The reversal by Kirchner came after widespread criticism and the opposition of Archbishop Mario Cargnello of Salta to replace the Te Deum with a new ceremony, “breaking a tradition that dates back to 1810.”
Archbishop Cargnello said, “The Church is committed to ecumenism,” and that representatives of other religious would participate in the Te Deum.
The president of campus ministry in Buenos Aires, Father Guillermo Marco, said that although the ceremony will go forward, the government’s proposal to move the traditional ceremony to another city reveals “a profound ignorance of what is being celebrated,” as May 25 marks events that took place specifically in Buenos Aires, when there was still no national government.
Some government officials said there was “no reason to sit down (in the Cathedral of Buenos Aires) to listen to [Cardinal] Bergoglio challenge them,” and in order to avoid possible criticism, they decided to hold the ceremony in Salta. However, they don’t know “what Archbishop Cargnello will say,” the prelate noted.
Argentinean historian Jose Ignacio Garcia Hamilton also weighed in on the controversy, saying, “May 25 is a Buenos Aires holiday. It does not have national import.” “The Te Deum has always been held in the capital. Now they want to move it to Salta because Kirchner is always trying to make new enemies,” he said.