Pope Francis divides opinion in Argentina


(BBC) – Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio – now Pope Francis – is a figure who attracts great admiration or strong criticism, depending on who you speak to in his home country of Argentina.

Even before his election, the 76-year-old was a deeply influential leader of the Roman Catholic Church. His Sunday sermons often ended up in the papers and for a certain sector of Argentine society, his opinions were formative.

He was praised for his social work and austere way of life.

Despite holding a prominent position he would often travel on public transport and when travelling to the Vatican he would often fly economy class.

He is said to be a person who mostly keeps to himself, rarely giving interviews and keeping a very low profile.

Those who have met him say that he always refuses dinner invitations at restaurants, preferring to eat alone in small dining places for the homeless.

The new Pope was known to have two passions outside religion: classical music and his football club, San Lorenzo de Almagro.

Left-wing fears

As the first Latin American to be named pope, it is likely that many in Argentina will celebrate one of their own at the helm of the biggest church in the country.

But for some in Argentina, Cardinal Bergoglio is an extremely conservative character – a stance which has alienated him among some sectors of society.

His staunch opposition to gay marriage – legalised in Argentina in 2010 – made him a hate figure for supporters of civil partnerships.

Read more at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-21780828