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Pope Francis to meet with Argentine president on Monday

March 18, 2013, 0:51 UTC+3
Vaticanistas take note of the country's president's rather restrained reaction to the election of an Argentine citizen to be the Head of the Roman Catholic Church
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VATICAN CITY, March 18 (Itar-Tass) - Pope Francis I (previously Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio) will meet with President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner of Argentina on Monday, the press service of the Holy See announced on Sunday. The audience to be given in the Domus Sanctae Marthae (Saint Martha's House) will be the new Pontiff's first meeting with a Head of State.

Their conversation will take place in the hotel room where the Pope is staying, pending transfer to the official apartments of the Palazzo Apostolico (Apostolic Palace).

The Argentine leader arrives in Rome to attend the Pope's enthronement which is to be held on Tuesday. One hundred and fifty delegations are expected to be present at a solemn mass to be said on this occasion.

Vaticanistas take note of the country's president's rather restrained reaction to the election of an Argentine citizen to be the Head of the Roman Catholic Church. They point out, specifically, that the Pontiff, when Archbishop of Buenos Aires, repeatedly criticized Kirchner's initiatives, those in the social sphere, in particular. For instance, Kirchner and her late husband -- ex-President of Argentina Nestor Kirchner -- had more than once entered into polemic with Bergoglio on the question of same-sex unions which the newly elected Pope strongly opposes.

However, there are also concurrences of views: in 2010, when speaking at a divine service, Cardinal Bergoglio referred to the Falkland Islands as "ours", that is, Argentine, adding that the Britons had "unlawfully seized" them.

Experts also recall that the legislation of Argentina makes no provision for a dual citizenship, whereas now the Pontiff of Rome becomes the holder of a Vatican passport.

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