December 20, 2014
Poli calls politicians to talk with each other
Buenos Aires Archbishop quotes Pope Francis, demands ‘the culture of meetings’
On the first Te Deum for the May 25 celebration held in the Metropolitan Cathedral in eight years, Archbishop of Buenos Aires Mario Poli called on the country’s political leaders to start coming to the table and talking, warning that if they didn’t all “put themselves behind an effort for dialogue, we all lose.”
The president had been absent from the Cathedral for the past 8 years so the government would avoid receiving critical homilies from former cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, now Pope Francis, but despite now being in Rome, his words could be heard ringing throughout the cathedral’s halls.
“Today, Pope Francis, one of our Argentines, is now teaching to the world the lessons he taught us so many times. Personalities of the whole world and many Argentines went to see him and they surely heard his words that he said so many times: ‘When leaders of different areas ask me for advice, my answer is always the same: dialogue, dialogue, dialogue. The only way for society to grow, is the culture of meetings,” he explained.
After the homily, President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner was visibly moved as she read the St. Francis de Assisi’s Peace prayer during the service accompanied by several members of her Cabinet, as well as City Mayor Mauricio Macri, Buenos Aires province Governor Daniel Scioli and Entre Ríos provincial leader Sergio Urribarri, among other officials.
Politicians at the bench
Vice-President Amado Boudou — a former Economy minister of the Fernández de Kirchner administration — was also seen talking with Economy Minister Axel Kicillof.
Musicians, actors like Gerardo Romano and members of the La Cámpora youth organization Andrés “Cuervo” Larroque and Eduar-do “Wado” De Pedro — as well as Army Chief César Milani and members of the Madres de Plaza de Mayo human rights organization — also participated in the ceremony.
The mass headed by Poli also included several members of the Buenos Aires Archdiocese.
“Today we need to support dialogue, for a culture that meets together or we will all lose,” warned Poli as the president and Buenos Aires city mayor — two political figures that are at polar opposites and whose dysfunctional relationship is well known — were sitting at the left and right of the altar. “To always continue and sustain a culture of fraternal get togethers, and the art of superior dialogue will guarantee the healthly viability of our blessed democracy,” claimed Poli.
Citing text from the bishop, he said, “The fatherland is a blessing received and the nation a permanent work of love and sacrifice, that we are all devoted too. The unity between brothers will continue being the first law.”
He quoted Pope Francis, highlighting his focus on the poor, “Pope Francis adds that in a table of dialogue, there should never lack interest and focus on the most poor and excluded sectors.”
Fernández de Kirchner had arrived at the cathedral at 12.12pm and was received in the atrium by the Catheral’s parish priest Alejandro Russo who accompanied the president inside, where she greeted Cardinal Poli. Both walked to General San Martín’s Mausoleum, where they left a floral offering.
The president was escorted to an armchair in the left part of the altar, where, before sitting down, she gave a warm hug to former judge and human rights activist, Alicia Oliveira, who had defended Bergoglio from accusations of his alleged complicity in human rights violations in the last military dictatorship.
A complicated relationship
The return by Fernández de Kirchner to the Cathedral, the first time as chief of state, represents a 180-degree turn with regard to her relationship with Bergoglio and follows two private audiences at the Vatican that helped further the reconciliation with the president who had considered the current pope the “spiritual chief” of the opposition. It was only eight years ago when former late president Néstor Kirchner decided to stop attending the traditional annual ceremony after former archibishop Jorge Bergoglio gave a harsh homily in 2006, where he took aim at local politicians.
Herald with DyN, Télam