Finished my travels in Buenos Aires today with an hour’s visit inside of Pope Francis’ old church, the Metropolitan Cathedral.
As with every other South American city I have visited on this trip, the very poor of Buenos Aires are hardly five minutes away from the very wealthy. The pope’s views on economics obviously reflect this enormous disparity on display everywhere, and the deep cynicism in my guide’s commentary about “Cristina” (Kirchner, president of the country) and all other political figures –past and present, left and right, civilian and military– seems also to flow out of the pope.
The pope confirms his first set of new cardinals on February 22 of the new year, and his choices from South America especially will tell us a great deal of his core political beliefs. Hopefully when it comes to his new cardinals for the north, he fully understands that American politics is disfigured not by the sort of corruption and wealth disparity that defines this and other countries, but by a ferocious secular absolutism that requires continued, principled public engagement of the sort modeled by Cardinals Dolan and O’Malley. The MSM is waiting to interpret his new cardinals in the same reflexive and shallow way that it has over-interpreted his every statement, so part of my time in his home church was a prayer for the wisdom he needs to balance all of these extraordinary issues and needs. Early elevation to the College of Cardinals of Archbishops Chaput of Philadelphia and Gomez of Los Angeles –technically not eligible for red hats in February– would be a tremendous lift to the Catholic Church in the USA as no doubt his appointees will be in South America. Passing by either would also be an invitation to the MSM to celebrate the new pope’s alleged break with John Paul II and Benedict. A lot rides on that first list of cardinals, down south, up north and across the globe.
Buenos Aires is a city that thrives despite hard times and much reported on corruption. Sorry to leave it so quickly, but I must get back and see the damage done to my studio by guest host Congressman John Campbell. I boldly thank him before even surveying the wreckage, and Arthur Brooks as well from last week, for their efforts to keep the audience informed and engaged as I bounded about.