Se está yendo el verano; volvemos a lo nuestro. España inicia el otoño con un serio conflicto : el afán independentista del gobierno de Catalunya y de un 50% de su población. No se sabe en qué puede terminar. Por de pronto el gobierno catalán sigue avanzando con la idea de un referendum que avale la independencia y transforme Catalunya en una república.
miércoles, 15 de julio de 2015
THE PERONIST POPE
Bello can apply the
term to a 78-year-old prelate who has turned lack
The Peronist pope
Francis’s balancing act in Latin
IF ONE can apply the term to a
78-year-old prelate who has turned lack of ostentation into an art form, then
Pope Francis is a rock star. Or at least that is how he is being greeted in
Latin America this week. Hundred of thousands have turned up for open-air masses
in Ecuador, with more to follow in Bolivia and Paraguay. Yet the eight-day
tour—the longest foreign trip so far in this papacy and the first to
Spanish-speaking America—may do more than underline the popularity in his home
region of Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the first Latin American pope. It may add
political definition to his papacy.
Still home to 40% of the world’s
Catholics, Latin America has seen a swift advance of evangelical Protestantism
in the past 40 years. Yet according to the Pew Research Centre, a think-tank in
the United States, Paraguay (where 89% are Catholics), Ecuador (79%) and Bolivia
(77%) remain bastions of the faith, along with Colombia and
The pope’s most obvious purpose is to
keep them that way by making the church more welcoming and more relevant. In
Guayaquil, in Ecuador, in a mass celebrating the family (“the best social
capital”) he spoke of his concern for those excluded from it—a reference to the
quiet battle he is waging for more tolerance towards gay couples and divorcees.
The issue will be taken up by a synod in October.
The three countries he is visiting are
all fairly small and poor, with large Amerindian populations. They were chosen
carefully. Francis, who used to be a Jesuit priest in Argentina, values pastoral
work with those on the margins of society, respects popular piety and promises a
“poor church, for the poor”.
His words have enthused supporters of
liberation theology, a set of leftist ideas that were influential in Latin
America in the 1970s and 1980s. Francis speeded up the beatification, which took
place in May, of Óscar Romero, a Salvadorean archbishop who was gunned down by a
right-wing death squad while celebrating mass in 1980 and is a hero to the
Yet Father Bergoglio always rejected
Marxism and violent revolution, which some leftist priests supported. Rather
than embracing liberation theology, he is reinterpreting it for a post-Marxist
age. Romero’s “option for the poor wasn’t ideological but evangelical,” says the
Vatican. The pope’s criticisms of free-market capitalism chime both with
traditional Catholic social doctrine and with Peronism, Argentina’s
populist-nationalist political movement, to which he was once close.
Two of the pope’s hosts, Ecuador’s
president, Rafael Correa, and Bolivia’s Evo Morales, are hard-left allies of
Venezuela’s authoritarian regime. They proclaim that they will take from the
rich and give to the poor, while quietly squelching the opposition. Mr Correa,
who calls himself a “Christian leftist”, publicly implied this week that the
pope backs his policies. In a barely veiled rebuke to his host, the pope
stressed the value of pluralism and warned against “dictatorships, personality
cults and the eagerness for sole leaderships”.
Francis has already shown himself to be a
highly political pope. His support for the secret talks that led to a diplomatic
thaw between the United States and Cuba was crucial. When embassies reopen later
this month after 54 years, he can claim some of the credit. He has five times
received Argentina’s president, Cristina Fernández, a Peronist with whom he
clashed when archbishop of Buenos Aires.
With a presidential election in October
(in which Ms Fernández herself cannot stand), those meetings have provoked
grumbling from opponents. But the pope is “very subtle in exercising influence
in Argentina”, says Sergio Berensztein, a political scientist. His aim in
entertaining Ms Fernández is to encourage a smooth democratic handover, avoiding
the violence and chaos that have marked political transitions in Argentina in
Some observers worry that the pope is
overplaying his hand politically. His plan to go to Cuba—for four days—in
September en route to the United States will anger Republicans and risks
undermining the American half of that trip.
The biggest test of Francis’s political
skill will be whether he can help to bring about a peaceful and democratic
transition in Venezuela, where the unpopular government of Nicolás Maduro faces
likely defeat in a parliamentary election this year—if it is free and fair.
“Behind the scenes he is trying to do everything he can in Venezuela to defuse
confrontation,” says Jimmy Burns, the author of a forthcoming biography of
Francis. Expect that to include the application of priestly pressure to Mr
Maduro’s allies, Presidents Correa and Morales, this week.