Over decades perónism would mutate blending populism

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Over decades, Perónism would mutate, blending populism, authoritarianism and nationalism, with Perón ultimately splitting from the Catholic Church. As a young priest during the military dictatorship in 1971, Francis ministered to the Iron Guard, a worker-based social justice group working for the return of Perón, who had been exiled to Spain. Mr. Ivereigh, the biographer, argues that Francis eventually rejected political ideologies and focused on the pueblo fiel — the faithful — while becoming increasingly outspoken against politicians, whom he thought did too little for the poor. As archbishop of Buenos Aires, Francis mobilized the church in response to Argentina’s economic crisis of 2001-02, expanding the number of priests assigned to the slums, opening food kitchens and opening schools, clinics and drug rehab centers as state services receded. He also castigated Argentina’s political leaders during the traditional Te Deum service, often with the president in attendance. (The service coincides with Argentina’s anniversary of the May Revolution, a precursor to national independence.) His rebukes would infuriate different leaders, including former President Néstor Kirchner. His critics argued that he was interfering in secular affairs and playing his own political games. “He takes risks,” said Rabbi Abraham Skorka, a Jewish leader in Buenos Aires and a close friend to the pope. “He doesn’t stay in a comfortable position.” Archbishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, an Argentine who has served in the Vatican for more than 40 years, said Francis is not condemning capitalism in total, but he is criticizing the indifference it fosters toward the poor.
9/19/15, 2:27 PM A Humble Pope, Challenging the World - The New York Times Page 10 of 15 “The pope, of course, doesn’t have a solution — the economic solution,” said Monsignor Sánchez Sorondo, who is chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences. “But the pope is like a light on the street to say: ‘This is not the way. This way sacrifices many people and leaves many people excluded.’” He added, “The pope is concerned that the plutocracy is destroying democracy.” Ken Hackett, the United States ambassador to the Holy See, argues that Francis’ economic views have been wrongly simplified and scoffs at the suggestion that the pope is a socialist as “a naïve characterization.” Mr. Hackett added: “I don’t think he hates capitalism. I think he hates the excesses.” To a degree, Francis seems to be lashing out against the contemporary primacy of economics over faith. He believes the answers are found with the Gospel, not with Adam Smith or Karl Marx.

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