A group of priests of low-income neighborhoods of Buenos Aires City and the Greater Buenos Aires are holding a mass on Tuesday “as a redress for the aggressions” against Pope Francis during the presidential primary’s campaign, particularly by La Libertad Avanza (LLA) presidential candidate Javier Milei.
Both on his social media accounts and in media interviews, the ultra-right wing economist has repeatedly referred to Pope Francis as “a jesuit who promotes communism,” “an evil and reprehensible character” and “the representative of the Devil on Earth.”
Milei was the most voted candidate in the last primary elections held on August 13, with almost 30% of the votes, according to the official tally.
The celebration will be held at 11 a.m. in the Virgen de los Milagros de Caacupé parrish, located in the non-urbanized community known as “Villa 21-24” in the Barracas neighborhood, with the goal of “defending Pope Francis and reject all kinds of attacks, lies and insults that people have said in this electoral campaign,” said the priests’ statement.
The mass was backed by the bishop of Buenos Aires, Monsignor Jorge Ignacio García Cuerva, and will be held by bishop Gustavo Carrara, general vicar of the archdiocese and head of the Pastoral de las Villas (Pastors of the villas.)
The priests chose the parish because it was a place the Pope, then bishop of Buenos Aires Jorge Bergoglio, had a habit of visiting ever since 1996, saying he “would step off the bus and come in walking through the corridors, meeting the neighbors, the priests and the community.” They also remembered how “he was always loved for his simple nature, his austerity, his clear words and understanding of people.”
“A politician can respectfully say ‘I don’t agree with this thing the Pope says’, but serious insults are unworthy of anyone running for such an important office…Unless we believe that society must be based on insults,” said father José María di Paola.
The priests also questioned the candidate’s stand against the State intervening with policies that favor the most socially disadvantaged sectors of the country.
“All of us, who live in a villa, in a low-income neighborhood, are well aware of how important it is that the State be present. Whether it is through a healthcare facility, a public school, laying asphalt on dirt roads, or providing clean water. We realize that these advancements really help people’s lives,” said Di Paola.
— with information by Télam