Pope Francis contacted the president-elect of Argentina, Javier Milei, to congratulate him on his victory in Sunday’s runoff presidential election. The libertarian economist, who ran for the La Libertad Avanza (Freedom Advances) party, will take office on Dec. 10.

The pontiff called the future president of Argentina on Tuesday and had a “pleasant and very good” conversation, those close to the politician told Infobae online news.

According to the news outlet, the person who made the contact possible was the pope’s ophthalmologist, Fabio Bartucci. The phone call was confirmed to ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner, by the Holy See’s Press Office.

When the call was made, Diana Mondino, a member of Milei’s La Libertad Avanza party just elected to the national Legislature, personally went looking for Milei, who was recording a television interview, and the president-elect interrupted the report to talk with the Holy Father.

Milei also extended the invitation for Pope Francis to visit Argentina next year “as head of state and leader of the Church,” Infobae added.

The Todo Noticias portal stated that, according to members of Milei’s team, the Holy Father reportedly “responded positively” to the invitation.

During the conversation, the libertarian addressed the pontiff as “His Holiness,” and a leader close to Milei said that “they spoke together very well. It was thrilling."

Witnesses to the communication between the two told Infobae that Pope Francis pointed out to the new president that “health, education, and poverty are very important issues.”

In response, Milei said he is convinced that changes he plans to make “are going to be good for the population.”

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Pope Francis urged the future president to have “wisdom and courage to govern,” to which Milei replied: “I have the courage, I am working on the wisdom.”

The phone call from Rome comes after some harsh criticism of the pope by Milei. In public statements, the next president had claimed that the pontiff was “the representative of the evil one on Earth” and had proffered other insults, for which he was urged to apologize.

In the presidential debates, Milei, in addition to offering his apology, guaranteed that if the pope wants to visit Argentina, he will be respected “not only as head of state, but as leader of the Catholic Church.”

In recent weeks, the possibility of Pope Francis visiting his native country began to gain momentum, and the nation’s bishops gathered at their 123rd plenary assembly even formalized the invitation with a letter to the pontiff. 

A Nov. 14 article on Infobae alleged that the pontiff had told those close to him that the decision to travel did not depend on the result of the elections.

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