Alberto Iribarne, named recently by the government of Cristina Kirchner to be Argentina’s new ambassador to the Holy See, has decided not to accept the post over the impasse the nomination has created with the Vatican because of his status as a divorced and remarried Catholic, a “canonical irregularity” that resulted in the Holy See’s withholding of official approval.
Sources quoted by the Argentinean daily Clarin said Iribarne made the decision in order to prevent problems in the relations between Argentina and the Holy See. Reporter Jose Ignacio Llados of La Nacion explained that the lack of official acceptance from the Vatican is more the fault of the Argentinean government for ignoring the two conditions the Holy See has for accepting an ambassador: that he or she not harbor anti-religious sentiments, and that he or she, if Catholic, not be in a state of canonical irregularity, as in the case of Iribarne.
Llados said the “canonical irregularity” did not refer to Iribarne’s status as divorced but rather to his new marital relation that prevents him from receiving Communion.
However, the naming of Iribarne was also criticized by local Catholics, such as the Corporation of Catholic Lawyers, who called on the government to immediately withdraw Iribarne’s name, as he was also a signer of a controversial anti-discrimination law that was strongly condemned by the Church and by pro-life and family groups.
Lawyers said the law would promote abortion, homosexuality and would alter Church-State relations.
Llados said that while the State has the right to name whomever it wants as ambassador, the receiving State also has the right to accept or decline.
No replacement for Iribarne has been announced yet.