Jan 15-22, 2018: Pope Francis visits home continent but not home country
CHILE & PERU - Activist Pope Francis begins his sixth visit to Latin America since becoming pope, again skipping a visit to his native Argentina.
Starting in Chile on Jan 15, the 80-year-old Argentine pontiff will visit the cities of Santiago, Temuco and Iquique. In Peru he will stop in Lima, Puerto Maldonado and Trujillo.
As on previous trips and in his speech to the United Nations in 2015, he will speak about worldly issues with activist fervor and meld them with religious themes. During his last visit to Latin America, he indicted unfettered capitalism as “the devil’s dung.”
Pope Francis has not included a pastoral trip to Argentina in his several trips to Latin America since his 2013 election to lead the world’s 2 billion Catholics. Britain’s Guardian newspaper attributes the omission to the frosty relationship between the pontiff and Argentina’s center-right president, Mauricio Macri. Pope Francis, who has long supported progressive causes in Argentina, and the center-right president have often found themselves on opposite sides of political debate, according to the newspaper.
A Washington Post explained the pontiff’s themes in a 2015 analysis as a meld of Roman Catholicism and Peronism. The movement was named after Gen. Juan Perón, who ruled Argentina from 1946 to 1955, and again briefly in the 1970s. Perón’s “third-way” policies and personal touch endeared him to working-class Argentines who were suspicious of wealthy elites yet wary of international leftism at the same time, according to the newspaper. As a young man, Jorge Mario Bergoglio, later the Archbishop of Buenos Aires, was steeped in both.
Pope Francis’ Latin American visits: Brazil, 2013; Bolivia, Ecuador and Paraguay, 2015; Cuba, 2015 and 2016; Colombia, 2017.