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Javier Maile visits Pope Francis in Rome – “Can I kiss her?”

Javier Maile visits Pope Francis in Rome – “Can I kiss her?”

The Argentine president pays his respect to his compatriot Jorge Mario Bergoglio, also known as Pope Francis. A special kind of meeting.

As if they had never cursed each other: Javier Maile and Pope Francis, two Argentines in Rome.

Vatican Media / IPA / Imago

Yes what now? Is the Pope now the “idiot” that Javier Miley described him as during the election campaign in Argentina? Who flirts with “murderous communists”? The “representative of evil on earth” par excellence? Or perhaps “the most important Argentine in history,” as Miley put it more cordially on Sunday in Rome?

When Pope Francis received his citizen on the occasion of Mass Canonization of “Mama Antola” An 18th-century Buenos Aires nun, the signs were certainly pointing to relaxation. “Did you cut your hair?” Francis joked, according to reporters in attendance, adding: “Nice to see you! God bless you.” Pictures from St Peter's Basilica show the warmth on display. It shows Miley hugging his compatriot – after previously asking him: “Can I kiss you?”

It was also clear on Monday that Miley's visit to Rome was not one of the countless routine visits to Rome made by heads of state from around the world. The official audience with Francis lasted a full hour, an unusually long period by Vatican standards, especially considering that in this case the services of an interpreter could be dispensed with. The two clearly had something to say to each other.

Maybe it wasn't just about Miley verbally slapping her in the face. Perhaps the Pope, for his part, should have clarified some things. Shortly before the anarcho-capitalist politician was elected, the pope warned his fellow citizens against following “magic flutes” and “messianic clowns” – a barely subtle reference to his political preferences. However, he also did not support Miley's opponent in the election campaign, Sergio Massa. This belongs to the environment of Néstor Kirchner and Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, and therefore to an environment with which Francis has been at odds since his time as Archbishop of Buenos Aires.

Mutual interests

In Rome, this new friendliness between the two is explained by the fact that Javier Maile cannot continue to disdain the Pope, who is very popular in his homeland, if he is to implement his tough reformist plans to restructure and dismantle the Argentine state. It is important to at least prevent Francis from going down an open path to confrontation.

However, it is uncertain whether the Pope will play a role here. In his sermon in honor of Mama Antola, the first Argentine saint, on Sunday he spoke of poverty and exclusion and described the rampant individualism of our time as a virus that must be defeated. It seemed like a friendly warning to Miles not to go too far with his plans.

For his part, Francis is keen to make an apostolic trip to his homeland during his time in Rome. He expressed this desire several times, but eventually postponed the plan again and again. But now time is of the essence, and his health is precarious. This could also be a reason why he doesn't want to completely mess with Miley. Miley has now renewed the invitation to the Pope. It is possible that the visit will take place this year.

No signs of moderation

The guest from Buenos Aires, whose ancestors came from Italy, was waiting for him impatiently on the other side of the Tiber. On Monday afternoon, the “Man with the Chainsaw” visited Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni at Chigi Palace. The conversation focused, among other things, on bilateral relations between the two countries. The relationship between the European Union and Mercosur was also discussed.

In addition, there was particular interest in the question of whether Miley might one day be able to follow a similar path to Giorgia Meloni – a path of moderation after a difficult and brutal election campaign – and whether the first signs of this could be seen in Rome.

If you look at the interview with the Argentine president that was broadcast on Berlusconi's channel “Rete 4” on Monday evening as a benchmark, this is probably not the case at the moment. According to everything leaked from the late-afternoon conversation, Miley played the familiar keyboard: He feels a deep disdain for the state; This is a criminal organization that takes money from people's pockets. Socialism is a mental disease that, when applied consistently, claims the lives of six million people.

However, Javier Maele's conversion does not appear to have occurred in Rome – with or without papal blessing.