When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

Already a subscriber? Log in .

You've reached your limit of one free article.

Get unlimited access to Worldcrunch

You can cancel anytime .


Exclusive International news coverage

Ad-free experience NEW

Weekly digital Magazine NEW

9 daily & weekly Newsletters

Access to Worldcrunch archives

Free trial

30-days free access, then $2.90
per month.

Annual Access BEST VALUE

$19.90 per year, save $14.90 compared to monthly billing.save $14.90.

Subscribe to Worldcrunch

Only Argentines Can Know What Miracles It Took To Have A Pope From Argentina

And a Peronist to boot!

Only Argentines Can Know What Miracles It Took To Have A Pope From Argentina
Ricardo Roa


BUENOS AIRESArgentina is a country where apparently anything can happen – what a surprise we got yesterday!

The announcement that Cardinal Bergoglio was the new pope created a wave of shock, emotion and enthusiasm for the Argentinian people, and a not-so-minor annoyance for the government.

The first non-European pope is Argentinian. It is a miracle. Well not so much – the last name Bergoglio is as Italian as Pavarotti. For the Italian Catholics who fervently wished to have their own pope again as was the tradition for centuries, they got their pope. The pope is part Italian.

But at the same time, Bergoglio is a pureblooded Argentinian. He was born in Flores, a rural district of Buenos Aires, the son of an immigrant railway worker. He graduated from a public school, is a peronista and is a supporter of the San Lorenzo soccer team.

A peronista in the throne of Saint Peter – what a shock!

After all, the Peronism movement, while for fighting social justice, is also known for its anti-clericalism.

A fan of Argentine writers Jorge Luis Borges and Leopoldo Marechal, Bergoglio is also an intellectual. He is also famous for his humility: he refused to move into the archbishop’s residence and said no to a driver – he travels via public transportation like everyone else.

Bergoglio became pope because of what he is and what he represents – an intelligent and austere man of the Church, who has taken a vow of poverty. He is the first Jesuit pope, and the first to adopt the name of Francis of Assisi, symbol of willed poverty. This represents a strong message and a hope for the Church, after the internal scandals that marred Ratzinger’s time as pope.

An enemy of the Argentine president

Bergoglio comes to a Church that is troubled. Before the crowd gathered in St Peter’s square yesterday, he gave a simple speech with a serene smile – a strong sign. We will have to wait and see what history he writes for the Church. And what history he writes for Argentina.

Bergoglio is an enemy of the Kirchners. They never went to the Buenos Aires Cathedral and never invited him in the Casa Rosada, the Argentinean presidential palace. They even encouraged lawsuits accusing him of being complicit with the military dictatorship in the kidnapping of two priests during the Dirty War.

A former peronista governor says that Bergoglio would turn the volume up on the radio when they spoke because he was worried he was being spied on or being listened to. However, neither the government nor President Cristina Kirchner could ignore the impact that yesterday’s news provoked.

Pro-Kirchner deputies refused to interrupt a parliamentary session to celebrate the historic appointment. The President sent an obligatory and bureaucratic message to Francisco, colder than ice. While attending a ceremony at Tecnopolis, Kirchner said she hoped Pope Francis “would be able to achieve a larger degree of fraternity between the people of the world.” She added that she hoped that “he would send a message to the great powers so they will engage in dialogue.” It seemed as though she was giving him advice on how to be pope. Reactions exploded on social networks.

And as if this were not enough, yesterday was Saint Cristina's Day.

You've reached your limit of free articles.

To read the full story, start your free trial today.

Get unlimited access. Cancel anytime.

Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.

Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries.

FOCUS: Israel-Palestine War

What Are Iran's Real Intentions? Watch What The Houthis Do Next

Three commercial ships traveling through the Red Sea were attacked by missiles launched by Iran-backed Yemeni Houthi rebels, while the U.S. Navy shot down three drones. Tensions that are linked to the ongoing war in Gaza conflict and that may serve as an indication as to Iran's wider intentions.

photo of Raisi of iran speaking in parliament

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi at the Iranian parliament in Tehran.

Icana News Agency via ZUMA
Pierre Haski


PARIS — It’s a parallel war that has so far claimed fewer victims and attracted less public attention than the one in Gaza. Yet it increasingly poses a serious threat of escalating at any time.

This conflict playing out in the international waters of the Red Sea, a strategic maritime route, features the U.S. Navy pitted against Yemen's Houthi rebels. But the stakes go beyond the Yemeni militants — with the latter being supported by Iran, which has a hand in virtually every hotspot in the region.

For the latest news & views from every corner of the world, Worldcrunch Today is the only truly international newsletter. Sign up here.

Since the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel, the Houthis have been making headlines, despite Yemen’s distance from the Gaza front. Starting with missiles launched directed toward southern Israel, which were intercepted by U.S. forces. Then came attacks on ships belonging, or suspected of belonging, to Israeli interests.

On Sunday, no fewer than three commercial ships were targeted by ballistic missiles in the Red Sea. The missiles caused minor damage and no casualties. Meanwhile, three drones were intercepted and destroyed by the U.S. Navy, currently deployed in full force in the region.

The Houthis claimed responsibility for these attacks, stating their intention to block Israeli ships' passage for as long as there was war in Gaza. The ships targeted on Sunday were registered in Panama, but at least one of them was Israeli. In the days before, several other ships were attacked and an Israeli cargo ship carrying cars was seized, and is still being held in the Yemeni port of Hodeida.

Keep reading...Show less

The latest