Thursday 14 March 2013

The Pope And The Falkland Islands

He is no friend of Kirchner's. She, like David Cameron, is an economically right-wing social liberal. Whereas he, being a Cardinal and now the Pope, is an economically left-wing social conservative. She'll be the happiest person of all in Buenos Aires that he won't be coming back from Rome.

When it comes to territorial claims and that sort of thing, Popes have believed all sorts of things, almost always entirely predictably based on their backgrounds, and almost never to any practical effect, which they have only very rarely sought to give to them. After all, how, exactly? All in all, so what?

This one, however, has held the line very forcefully both against the oppression of the poor, including the wealth inequality at the root of it, and against things like the erosion of the traditional definition of marriage.

That's the thing about Latin America, you have to hold one of those lines as firmly as if you were in Africa or Asia, and you have to hold the other one as firmly as if you were in Europe or North America. He has done both, and he will continue to do both.

Why would anyone even ask what he thought should be the constitutional status of the Falkland Islands? He really does have other calls on his time and other things on his mind.

The Falklands issue is the only one on which he agrees with Kirchner, because everyone in Argentina agrees with her on that. But it has nothing to do with his new life as the Pope; even as Archbishop of Buenos Aires, it amounted to nothing more than delivering sermons at memorial events, and even then there was only one thing he could have said. I am not suggesting that he didn't mean it. But any Argentinian would have meant it.

And now, he no longer has to say it from time to time. Someone else will have to do that. His appointee, in fact. But it won't be him, ever again. The numerous points on which he does not agree with Kirchner in the slightest, however, are central to his being Pope. And on all of those, he is deeply, deeply, deeply sound.

As will be his chosen successor in Buenos Aires. Something for Kirchner to look forward to.


  1. James from Durham15 March 2013 at 09:11

    Let's be honest - The Falkland Isles are important to us and important to Argentina. But most of the world could't give a damn (don't even know where they are). Pope Francis has much bigger fish to fry. He really isn't going to have time for this one.