Pope Francis reportedly denies his trip to Argentina would depend on election results

Pope Francis tries some maté, Argentina’s national drink, at his general audience on April 5, 2023. Pope Francis tries some maté, Argentina’s national drink, at his general audience on April 5, 2023. | Vatican Media

According to the Argentine newspaper Infobae, Pope Francis supposedly told a group of people close to him that his possible trip to Argentina does not depend on the result of the presidential elections between Sergio Massa and Javier Milei that will take place this Sunday.

A story published Nov. 14 by Infobae states that the Holy Father supposedly said: “My visit to Argentina does not depend on the victory or defeat of any party.”

“There are no conditions on my decision,” he allegedly added.

The pontiff also supposedly expressed his unhappiness with priests who are talking about a possible visit without having his authorization to do so: “I find it very annoying that priests are going around the media speaking in my name,” Pope Francis allegedly commented, according to the Argentine media.

Infobae pointed out that the comments attributed to the pope would be a response to an article published in the French newspaper La Croix a day earlier, in which one of the “Vatican’s most fervent proponents of Francis’ Latin American tour” is cited, stating that “if Javier Milei is elected, the projected trip falls apart,” but “if Sergio Massa wins the elections, the pope can go.”

The presidential runoff election in Argentina

On Sunday, Nov. 19, the runoff or second round of the presidential elections will be held in Argentina, with candidates Massa and Milei as contenders.

Massa is the current minister of economy in Argentina — which is mired in a deep economic crisis — and candidate for the Unión por la Patria (Union for the Homeland) party, formerly called Frente de Todos (Everyone’s Front), the current ruling party, which has a progressive and Peronist tendency.

In the debate held last Sunday, Massa invited the Holy Father to visit Argentina in 2024 and said: “We would love to have him in Argentina.”

Milei is an economist on the right of the political spectrum, the candidate of the La Libertad Avanza (Freedom Advances) party. On more than one occasion he has harshly criticized Pope Francis, but in recent days he has apologized and acknowledged that his statements were inappropriate.

Before the debate he said regarding the pontiff: “If I have to ask for his forgiveness, I’ll do it. I even invite him to come to Argentina. We will receive him with all honors.”

This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.

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