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Pope Francis invokes Abraham Lincoln in message to safeguarding summit
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Argentine archbishop warns president: ‘There is little time left’ to avoid debacle
Archbishop Victor Manuel Fernandez at the Holy See press office, Oct. 8, 2014. / Daniel Ibanez/CNA

Buenos Aires, Argentina, Sep 18, 2021 / 06:01 am (CNA).

Archbishop Víctor Manuel Fernández of La Plata warned Argentine president Alberto Fernández Thursday that his priorities, such as abortion, marijuana, euthanasia, and non-binary language, don’t respond to the “profound anguish” of the people.

“For the love of this wounded country, many of us hope that the President can revise in time the priorities on his agenda, to avoid a debacle that would end up harming our people even more,” the Argentine prelate wrote in a Sept. 16 column in La Nación, an Argentine daily.

Archbishop Fernández said the Argentine president has been “all taken up with abortion, marijuana, and even euthanasia, while the poor and the middle class were deeply anguished with other things that have gotten no response.”

“In recent months there has been a strong push to impose ‘non-binary’ language that in the sprawling slums no one seems to be interested in. Perhaps you want to copy the agenda of Spanish socialism, forgetting that we are here in Latin America, and to top it all, in the middle of a pandemic, where circumstances demand dealing with other more pressing issues.”

“At the end of last year, while neighboring countries were buying vaccines, here the Ministry of Health was in the middle of a passionate campaign for abortion. At least it must be recognized that it was not the right time nor the most pressing need,” the Archbishop of La Plata pointed out.

A law permitting elective abortion up to 14 weeks, pushed by the Fernandez administration, was adopted in December 2020.

The archbishop noted that many women whose need for abortion the government believed it was responding to, “were living from day to day, with their families torn apart, their children who had dropped out of school and had fallen into drugs and crime, and with money worth less every day.” 

“Thus the social agenda that could have characterized this government was blurred, and so a great opportunity was squandered,” he lamented.

Inflation in Argentina is expected to reach 48.2% in 2021, with an economic growth rate of 6.8%.

Referring to the primary elections held over the weekend, Archbishop Fernández said that “the very low turnout by people who don’t feel represented by other political options but are too fed up to go out and vote” ought to grab one’s attention.

It speaks volumes “that in many poor neighborhoods 40% of the people didn’t vote, although in reality this campaign with few real proposals and many slogans didn’t enthuse anyone,” he added.

Open primary elections were held last weekend in Argentina. According to the Spanish language edition of CNN, if the results are repeated in November in the general elections, Frente de Todos, the governing coalition, would lose the majority it holds in the Senate; it is already in the minority in the Chamber of Deputies.

The Archbishop of La Plata stressed that Fernández “still has time to give priority to major social problems,” although he pointed out that “sometimes politics gets confused when it believes that talking about certain issues responds to the expectations of society, and in reality it is only flattering minority sectors close to it.”

“That’s not the Argentine people, and the votes seem to show it,” he stressed.

“However, some members of the government itself seem to think that the solution is to become more radical, without seeing that this would be getting closer to the abyss,” he lamented.

Archbishop Fernández then asked “who wouldn’t forgive the President for the misstep of the little party in Olivos if they had felt him closer to their real problems? The point is that he treated those who did the same as he did as ‘imbeciles,’ as well as when he asked for a respectful debate on abortion while calling those who thought differently ‘hypocrites.’”

Fernández’ domestic partner, Fabiola Yáñez, had organized a party July 14, amid a COVID-19    quarantine.

In April, the president said in reference to those who criticized the high number of COVID-19 cases in the country that “I hear these idiots saying that the infected are a political solution. Does anyone think that the one who governs a country gains by doing politics with the numbers of those infected? You have to be a total idiot to say those things or a very bad person.”

The Archbishop of La Plata noted that “our people are generous and are capable of giving another chance to those who know how to retrace their footsteps and get back on track.”

“Hopefully this will be the case, so that an economy that has been damaged for several years can be rebuilt and we can begin to resolve the difficulties of the great majority that is suffering. There are already many people tired of waiting,” he concluded.

Archbishop Fernández’ column was published one day after the resignation of all the ministers and senior officials representing Vice President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner in the cabinet, and amid a public confrontation between her and Fernández.