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Father Claude

As I was saying.....

I embrace the world from my backyard at the University of Portland, January 1, 2018. I again invite you to "clod-hop" with me on my journeys to Latin America via this blog. More...

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CHILE ON THE HORIZON (Category: Chile and Argentina)

Now that I’m in Chile, I expected to read all about about the positive excitement of the Chilean press over the visit of the friendly Argentine Pope Let’s just say, it wasn't necessarily so. There were a few positive and friendly observations, of course, about his visit to Chile’s poorest neighbors. Most of the comments — even the kind ones — included some deflecting humor and even sarcasm about this mildly confused religious leader, who also happens to be Head of State, but has not quite adjusted to this unique combination of contradictory roles.

I added a recent photo of Cardinal Bergoglio, lest you’ve forgotten what he looks like. The recently blessed the school of Sabrina, the daughter of my good friend, Claudio de Marco, whom I baptized in 1970. Sabrina might have suspected that the friendly cardinal would soon be called to Rome.

For now, Cuba-US relations have taken over the news (along with the beginnings of a deal with Iran), Papa Francisco has disappeared from the news. Let me return to Chile’s perception of this recent papal visit to its near neighbors.

What seemed to be most upsetting to the Chilean press, with more muted comments by government officials, was his positive response to a demand by President Evo Morales that it be given back it’s access to the sea by Chile. This is a long-lasting and angry polemic between Chile and Bolivia over territory taken by Chile during the War of the Pacific.

I jotted a few comments from an editorial of last Saturday by one of Chile’s best-known historians. The article by Alfredo Jocelyn Holt was printed in “La Tercera”, Santiago’s conservative newspaper The “Le Figaro” of Chile. He begins his comments with a stark “Bergoglio”, the family name of Pope Francis: “Bergoglio [he writes] may be a Head of State, but clearly history is far too important to be trifled with, for it follows a specific, rigid discipline that excludes the possibility of consecrating it through a simplistic sermon”

          [The above is Chilean jargon for: Better to leave history to the big boys, Bergoglio, and stick to your Church affairs]

Our historian, in Donald Trump-style, continues with a question, again with dripping sarcasm — “Should we now expect Mexico to claim back Texas..or why doesn’t Bergoglio (there it is, again) ask Italy to reestablish the Vatican’s access to the sea?” Aye—aye—aye.

A more careful and diplomatic formulation came from one of the Senators of the Christian Democratic Party ( a graduate of St. George’s College, by the way) who simply chided the Holy Father for perhaps forgetting that comments made from a compassionate religious perspective may be distorted by his role as Head of State, Implication: When he reads my comments, he’ll come to his senses. We all have our moments.

I close with a historical observation. Chile and Argentina came close to war over three, little islands in the 1960s. War was fortunately avoided through the mediation of the Holy See. Otherwise who knows but that Patagonia might just belong today exclusively to Chile — and not shared with Argentina.. So, Bergoglio, the world anxiously awaits your visit to Cuba. Followed by a visit to Cuba’s northern neighbor and former enemy.

Permalink | Friday, July 24, 2015