THE POPE RECEIVES CRISTINA FERNÁNDEZ
Today, the President of the Argentine Supreme Court of Justice, Ricardi Lorenzetti said that pope Francis “is completely innocent” and was never suspected of being involved in violations of human rights committed during the military dictatorship (1976-83).
“Although some people disagree or claim that he may have done this or that, the fact remains that there is no concrete accusation” against former cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, Lorenzetti said in a radio interview.
The President of the High Court stressed the need to respect the principle of innocence, even in Pope Francis’ case, adding that “this is a man who has never been convicted” of violations during the dictatorship.
Lorenzetti, who is a member of the Argentina’s official delegation, in Rome to celebrate the inauguration of Pope Francis’ pontificate, emphasised that his election “represents a big change” and praised the Pope’s “humility, dialogue and willingness to combat poverty.” He added that “this is precisely what today’s world needs.”
Meanwhile, delegations of states from across the world continue to arrive in Rome for the inauguration of Pope Francis’ pontificate which will take place tomorrow in St. Peter’s.
In total, about 80 heads of state, government leaders, ministers, ambassadors and religious leaders are expected to arrive in Fiumicino between 7 am and 23 pm today. At the airport there is a delegation – made up of representatives of the Italian ministry of foreign affairs and the Italian Civil Aviation Authority (ENAC) and the security forces – on standby to welcome all new arrivals. The President of East Timor, Taur Matan Ruak and the President of Taiwan, Ying Jeou Ma are already in Rome. The Vice President of Uruguay, Danilo Astori and U.S. senator, Cris Smith, landed before 8 am this morning.
Seven more Heads of State are expected to fly into Rome’s Leonardo Da Vinci airport within the next few hours. They are: the Presidents of Portugal, Anibal Cavaco Silva; Honduras, Porfirio Lobo Sosa; Paraguay, Federico Franco; Romania, Traian Basescu; Hungary, Janios Ader; Lettonia, Andris Berzins and Liechtenstein, Alois Von Liechtenstein. The Vice-Presidents of Nicaragua and Cameroon, Moises Hallesleve and Lucayang are also due to arrive today. The former Australian Head of State, William Deane, Kosovo and Estonia’s heads of government, Hashim Thaci and Andrus Ansip, the President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz and Belarus President, Anatoly Rubinov.
The foreign ministers of various European, South American and African countries are also expected to arrive today, as well as ambassadors, patriarchs and other religious figures. Ciampino airport is expecting the arrival of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the Presaident of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso and of the Prime Ministers of France and Spain, Jean-Marc Ayrault and Mariano Rajoy.
Intanto Papa Francesco ricevera’ oggi in Vaticano, intorno a mezzogiorno presso la Casa di Santa Maria, il presidente argentino Cristina Kirchner. Si tratta del primo incontro del nuovo Pontefice con un capo di Stato. Domani, secondo quanto riferisce la stampa latinoamericana, la Kirchner assistera’ poi alla messa di inaugurazione del pontificato al fianco del presidente italiano Giorgio Napolitano.
At around 12 o’clock today, Pope Francis met with the President of Argentina, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner in Saint Martha’s House, in the Vatican. This was the new Pope’s first meeting with a Head of State.
“Never in my life has a pope kissed me!” Cristina Fernández de Kirchner said, smiling, after her private audience with Pope Francis. After exchanging gifts, the Pope kissed the Argentinean President on the cheek. Today’s meeting between Fernández de Kirchner and Pope Francis lasted between 15 to 20 minutes aand was cordial and informal: the President gave the Pope a mate (traditional Argentinean drink) set, unwrapping each cup individually to show them to the Pope. “unwrapping a present brings good luck,” according to Argentinean tradition. As Fernández de Kirchner showed him the mate set, the Pope also said: “I take mine bitter, but it’s no problem.” “But there might be someone who take sit sweet,” the Argentinean President said.
The Pope gave Fernández de Kirchner a bronze bas-relief sculpture of the St. Peter’s Square and a book on the Fifth General Conference of the Bishops of Latin America which took place in 2007 in Brazil. “It helps us understand what Latin American bishops think,” Fernández de Kirchner apparently told the Pope. She then apparently asked Pope Francis to mediate between Argentina and Great Britain to help the Faulklands dialogue.”
The Latin American press has reported that Cristina Fernández de Kirchner will attend tomorrow’s inaugural mass, alongside the President of the Italian Republic, Giorgio Napolitano.