Argentina Celebrates as their own
Catholic Leader is Elected Pope Francisتكبير الصورةتصغير الصورة معاينة الأبعاد الأصلية.
They filled every pew of the squat cathedral here in the
heart of Buenos Aires, devotion for their church and for their sometimes
overlooked country brimming in their veins. At last a pastor in black cassock
climbed to the pulpit. “Habemas Papam,” he intoned and they could no longer keep
still, clapping and waving small flags.تكبير الصورةتصغير الصورة معاينة الأبعاد الأصلية.
In Buenos Aires it had been as evening rush hour
was just stirring when word began to spread that their own Catholic leader,
Jorge Bergoglio, had been chosen. For many in this city of high inflation,
choking traffic and sometimes painful political memories, it seemed a blessing
almost too unexpected to believe.
Among those who rushed here were students
from the Argentina Catholic University. “It is about celebrating together,” said
Bautista Gigena, 18, admitting he had cried at the news. “We are so glad.”
Beside him, Juan Francisco, 19, grasps an Argentina soccer shirt and a rosary.
The last, he reveals, had traveled all the way to Rome with his father where it
was blessed by Pope Benedict.
Each has attended mass with Bergoglio and there is
no scintilla of doubt in their young eyes what kind of world spiritual leader he
will be. A fine one. “He is really close to the people,” says Francisco,
referring to his reputation for humble living – even as Archbishop he rode the
bus here and eschewed the grandiose official residence for a small apartment.
“He will be between John Paul and Benedict. He will be a mix of the two,” he
As the pastor speaks inside, outside the crowd
swells fast. The atmosphere is not one of worship and nor quite of the soccer
stadium either. But ebullient – and nationalistic – it is. “Argentina,
Argentina!” is the chant that ripples from the front at the edge of the throng
at the Cathedral steps deep into the square, the Casa Rosada of President
Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, a few hundred yards beyond. Slowly song breaks
out with verses everyone at once seems to know. “Love, Love, to the New
There are many reasons Argentina thinks this a
miracle. As Archbishop, Bergoglio devoted energies to repairing a Church that
for decades stood accused of having closed its eyes to the brutalities of the
1976-1983 dictatorship. But the faithful here also see a church somewhat
diminished in a society that may today be among the most secular of Latin
America. Bergoglio and Ms Fernandez have fought frequently as she has moved the
country towards gay marriage and allowing abortions after rape. “The church has
been in retreat and this is why this is important,” says the young Bautista. “It
has been due first to the government that has been fighting the charge and
There is one more miracle. It is Argentina giving
the world its first pope from the Americas and not Brazil, the bigger, richer
neighbor, has some had expected. “Yes, that is good,” says Camilla Navarro, 18,
with a guilty grin. “I would have been a little jealous. Argentinians are a
proud and passionate people.” Never more so than today.