Pope Francis’ appointment surprised much of the Latin American population and many are thrilled about his newfound leadership of the Catholic Church. However, due to his conservative outlook and history with President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, there is speculation surrounding his future relationship with the government, and some sections of society are wondering if he will use his papal influence in an attempt to strengthen the Church’s foothold on pressing issues, such as gay marriage and abortion.
We took to the streets to find out what the people of Buenos Aires think about Pope Francis and if they believe his appointment will improve relations between the Church and state.
Photos by Simon Guerra.
Francis is wonderful, a great man. He is not afraid to speak his mind and he will tackle important issues head on. The government must be scared because they know he is very popular, more popular than the president, and he will not bow down to her. It is great for Latin American and great for us to have an Argentine Pope. He will do good work and prove his critics wrong.
I am young and catholic so it is important to have a Pope who is able to communicate with the younger generations. Even though he is old I think he will change the way people think about religion. I saw him shaking people’s hands and greeting crowds in Rome on television, he did not use the bullet-proof car that Pope Benedict used. The people will appreciate this and he will be more popular as a result. I also think he will work with the government, the state cannot afford to have an enemy like the Church when there are so many catholics in South America.
He is different than Pope Benedict, he seems to be more in touch with normal people. I think this approach will make him more popular with catholics all around the world. As for his relationship with the Argentine government, well, I am not sure how this will change. President Fernández still has her views, and Francis still has his, so it all depends on whether they will be able to compromise or accept that they have different beliefs and get on with their jobs. It will be interesting, in the end I am sure they will pretend to be allies but deep down they will not like each other.
I’m not religious but a lot of my friends are excited about Francis. It’s hard to know who to believe when it comes to his past though. Many people escaped without punishment after being involved in the military dictatorship so maybe he is one of those people, I do not know. I am sure we will never find out. He will probably clash with the president again over certain issues but she will definitely want him on her side as so many catholics will be looking up to him.
I don’t think much will change. Each Pope promises to make a difference when they are appointed, just like political leaders, so I am not expecting much. His relationship with President Fernández might become more friendly but this will only be on the surface, neither side will want to start fighting with each other, it would not look good. Perhaps they can both use each other to their own advantage although I think it is more important for the president to make an effort as the Pope is already very popular in this country.