As Pope Francis Heads to Chile and Peru, Argentina Feels Snubbed, Again

New York Times

January 14, 2018

Leer en español: Mientras el papa visita Chile y Perú, los argentinos se preguntan: ¿y nosotros?

By Daniel Politijan

Buenos Aires – It was a sweltering afternoon at the rundown central bus station in Argentina’s capital, but Amelia Cartes Novoa was beaming despite the intolerable heat.

“I’m so excited,” Ms. Cartes said as she waited on a platform for the bus that would take her on a 21-hour ride across the Andes. She was on her way to attend a Mass that Pope Francis will celebrate in Santiago, Chile’s capital, on Tuesday.

“I’ve done this trip many times before but this one is particularly special,” she said.

Ms. Cartes is among the tens of thousands of Argentines planning to make a pilgrimage to Chile during the peak of the summertime holiday to catch a glimpse of the pope, who was born here in Buenos Aires. Much to the chagrin of many of his countrymen, Francis has not set foot in his homeland since his election in March 2013.

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In Santiago, Francis is expected to face demonstrations for keeping Bishop Juan Barros as head of the Diocese of Osorno, 570 miles south of the capital, despite allegations he helped cover up a notorious case of clerical sexual abuse. Francis appointed him in January 2015 even though he was part of the inner circle of the Rev. Fernando Karadima, whom the Vatican found guilty of sexual abuse in 2011.

Francis called “dumb” the lay and religious organizations protesting in Osorno at the time.

“We are not convinced that the pope has really assumed this zero tolerance policy on sexual abuses,” said Juan Carlos Claret, 24, one of the organizers of the demonstrations. “He has showed infinite tolerance. Having all the power to do something, he prefers to remain ambiguous.”

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