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Pope Francis kisses Argentina President 1

Francis kisses Kirchner, the Argentina President

On March 18, 2013, one day before his inauguration Mass, Pope Francis received Cristina Kirchner, the Argentina head of State. The encounter took place in the lobby of Santa Marta Inn at the Vatican where Bergoglio chose to live. It was the first audience of a head of State granted by the new Pope.

Kirchner gave the Pontiff a gourd with a silver straw for drinking hot mate, a traditional beverage of the gauchos [cowboys] in Argentina. As an expression of his gratitude, Bergoglio gave her a kiss, above. Hardly a gesture appropriate to the Vicar of Christ. Even Kirchner showed surprise at the gesture, commenting,  "This is the first time I have been kissed by a Pope."

Below first row, Cristina Kirchner giving the Pope a Masonic handshake as she leaves the audience; second row, Bergoglio holding the gourd with a silver straw for drinking mate tea.

A video of the event with an Italian speaker is available here;
with a Spanish speaker, here.

Pope Francis kisses Argentina President 2
Photos from El Universal & Internet

Posted May 26, 2013

Our Lady of La Salette,
 restore the Holy Church.

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 Previews on the New Papacy