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Argentine approach in St. Peter's Basilica

Argentine summit in St. Peter's Basilica: Pope Francis met his compatriot, Argentine President Milei, in the Vatican for the first time. The welcome was warm – which wasn't necessarily to be expected.

Pope Francis met for the first time with the new president of his home country Argentina, Javier Milei. The two greeted each other in St. Peter's Basilica before a service for the canonization of an 18th-century Argentine nun. The Pope, who was in a wheelchair, and the President also held each other's shoulders. It was a warm welcome.

A “fool” and “son of a bitch”

The relationship between the two is considered to be strained: During the election campaign for the highest state office, Milei insulted the Pope as a “fool” and a “son of a bitch” who was promoting communism around the world. In the meantime he has already extended an invitation to a state visit. Francis has not been to his homeland since the beginning of his pontificate in 2013.

This Monday the Pope will receive the guest from his homeland for a private audience. The Argentine head of state's program also includes meetings with Italy's Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni and President Sergio Mattarella.

canonization a religious woman

Milei has been President of Argentina since December. The reason for the visit is the canonization of the Argentine Mama Antula (1730-1799). The Catholic nun – whose real name is María Antonia di San Giuseppe de Paz y Figueroa – is the first woman from Latin America to be canonized. Because of her commitment to the poor and sick, the Pope honored her as a special example of charity even today.

It is unclear whether the Pope will accept Milei's invitation and travel to his homeland for the first time in the second half of the year. The 87-year-old's health has been clearly struggling for some time now. Francis had to cancel his planned trip to the world climate summit in Dubai at the end of last year at short notice.

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