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What did Milei and Pope Francis say to each other at the canonization of Mama Antula?

Pope Francis greets Argentina President Javier Milei in St. Peter’s Basilica on Feb. 11, 2024, at the canonization of Mama Antula, the first female saint from Argentina. / Credit: Daniel Ibáñez/ACI Prensa

ACI Prensa Staff, Feb 12, 2024 / 15:30 pm (CNA).

Pope Francis and the president of Argentina, Javier Milei, spoke briefly at the Vatican on Sunday, Feb. 11, the feast day of the Our Lady of Lourdes and the day for the canonization of Mama Antula, the first female saint of the South American country.

“Did you get a haircut?” the Holy Father asked Milei as he greeted him in St. Peter’s Basilica. The Argentine leader was in Rome for the canonization Mass. Their encounter was captured in an EWTN/ACI Prensa video.

“I left it [as it was]. Can I give you a hug?” the Argentine president then asked, to which Francis responded: “Yes, son, yes. Nice to see you. Thank you for coming … May God bless you very much.”

Next Karina Milei, the president’s sister and secretary general of his administration, asked the pope: “Can I greet you, can I give you a kiss?” After Pope Francis’ affirmative response, the woman told him: “A pleasure, it’s a pleasure being welcomed [by you].”

“Thank you for supporting him,” the Holy Father replied.

Then addressing the group that accompanied Milei, Pope Francis asked: “How’s work going?” to which the president responded: “It takes a lot of ability to handle things because of the roughness of the other side [his political opposition],” to which the pontiff replied: “God is greater!” 

“That’s true,” one of the women who was with Milei said.

As they departed, the Holy Father made his usual prayer request, this time to Milei and his entourage: “Pray for me; I pray for you.” 

“Thank you,” they responded.

“In just a little while we’ll see each other, tomorrow,” the pope concluded.

“See you tomorrow,” answered Milei, who said in an interview yesterday with Argentina’s Radio Miter that Pope Francis is “the most important Argentine in history.”

Milei was received this morning, Feb. 12, in a private audience by Pope Francis, after which he was scheduled to meet with the Vatican secretary of state, Cardinal Pietro Parolin.

The Argentine president was also scheduled to meet with the president of Italy, Sergio Mattarella, and then with Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni.

This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.

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