President Cristina Fernández met on Thursday with the new president of the Argentine Episcopal Conference (CEA), Monsignor José María Arancedo. CFK decided to meet with the Santa Fe province archibishop after he was named as the new Episcopate leader on Tuesday for a three year term, replacing Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio.
Arancedo arrived at the Government House driving a Citroen C3 car at a 6.15 pm, but Cristina Fernández remained more time than expected in the Olivos presidential residence and only arrived to the Government House after 7.30 pm.
During the 102nd CEA assembly, which took place in the Cenáculo complex in the Greater Buenos Aires area of Pilar, the 84 bishops with right to vote chose Arancedo as president, with Neuquén archibishop Virginio Bressanelli as first Vice-president and Salta province archibishop Mario Cargnello as second Vice-president.
Seventy one year old Arancedo, a first cousin of late former president Raúl Alfonsín, per the Government's viewpoint, has a more moderate political management than Bergoglio, who left his post after six years and a little over a month before presenting his retirement as Buenos Aires Archibishop on his 75th birthday.
Monsignor Bergoglio has repeatedly been acused by the two Kirchner administrations of criticizing the government and the political system regarding poverty, corruption, political greed, mismanagement of public funds and not doing enough to help the people.
The government has reacted by cooling relations with Bergoblio such as holding the official Te Deums on national Days outside the City of Buenos Aires, thus avoiding his homily in the Plaza de Mayo Cathedral. Furthermore Bergoglio’s chances as a papal candidate following the death of John Paul II were believed to be frustrated with the airing of incidents going back to the military dictatorship.
Allegedly in writings by a journalist very close to Cristina Fernandez who helps with speeches and defining positions in relations with the Catholic church, Bergoglio did not proceed with the ‘necessary determination’ in protecting two Jesuit priests when the military kidnapped and disappeared them in the seventies at the height of repression.
The two Jesuits were clearly identified with the struggle for the poor and needy in Argentina and considered ‘political agitators’ by the military rulers.