June 20, 2013
Two Argentine papal candidates
Following Benedict XVI’s surprise resignation yesterday, one of the two Argentines instantly put forth as having chance of inheriting the papacy was Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, the Archbishop of Buenos Aires.
The 76-year-old was already a strong candidate during the 2005 conclave, in which Joseph Ratzinger was elected to succeed, and Federico Walls, the Buenos Aires Archdiocese press officer, affirmed Bergoglio is still a “papal candidate, just like the rest of the cardinals.”
“He will travel when he is summoned by Rome,” Walls assured, adding: “he has experience from the last conclave,” in which he is rumoured to have mustered 40 votes.
However, his chances and his own ambition may have waned since 2005, considering his resignation as Archbishop, which has not yet been accepted, his advanced age and physical limitations stemming from having lost a lung when he was 21.
Born in Buenos Aires on December 17, 1936, Bergoglio was ordained a priest in 1969. He eventually rose to the position of Bishop of Buenos Aires in 1992, having been appointed by Pope John Paul II, with the latter also naming him Buenos Aires Archbishop Curate of Buenos Aires in 1997. He also serves as the High Chancellor for the Pontifical Catholic University of Argentina.
John Paul II installed the Archbishop as cardinal in 2001, with the title of San Roberto Belarmino.
The cardinal has been the official voice for communication between the Catholic Church and the Kirchnerite administrations, having engaged in dialogue with President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner on issues including abortion, gay marriage and materialism.
Under Bergoglio’s leadership, the Church has sternly criticized elements of Argentine society, although refraining from directly pointing fingers at political figures.
In a recently published Lenten letter, the Archbishop slammed the “self-destructing realities” facing society which foster the “demonic effects of the imperialism of money,” including drug-trafficking, corruption, prostitution and violence.
Bergoglio is thought to agree with Benedict XVI and John Paul II’s condemnation of relativism, and maintenance of the conservation of the Catholic Church’s vital values and principles.
Herald with DyN, Arzbaires.org.ar