from Photographers' Blog:

Our hometown Pope

March 18, 2013

Buenos Aires, Argentina

By Enrique Marcarian

Used to covering news with headlines like hyper-inflation, devaluation, coup d'etat, protest, bond default, election, poverty, earthquake, and even papal visit, I never imagined what it would be like to cover the papal conclave in the new Pope's country of origin. What made it even more baffling was the fact that the winner was someone we never dreamed it would be.

from Photographers' Blog:

Falkland Islanders take on an Argentine Pope

March 15, 2013

By Marcos Brindicci

Port Stanley, Falkland Islands

Czech journalist Jeri Hasek appeared in the hotel lobby saying to some of us Argentines, "You have a Pope! An Argentine Pope!"

Argentina’s soccer team settles outstanding debt with the Virgin

May 30, 2011

(Sergio Batista, head coach of the Argentine national soccer team, in Buenos Aires May 16, 2011/Enrique Marcarian)

Gay marriage law in Argentina signals waning Catholic power in Latin America

July 23, 2010

gay buenosThe Catholic Church’s failure to derail a gay marriage law in Argentina shows once powerful clergymen losing their influence in Latin America, where pressure is growing for more liberal social legislation.

Gays and divorced need not apply as ambassador to Vatican

October 1, 2008

Pope Benedict and President Nicolas Sarkozy in Paris, 12 Sept 2008/Jacky NaegelenFor a country keen to improve relations with the Vatican, France has made some surprising faux pas this year. Things have been going well on the surface. President Nicolas Sarkozy has sung the praises of religion in public life several times this year. Pope Benedict was warmly welcomed during his visit to Paris last month. But behind the scenes, Paris has apparently flubbed what should be a routine procedure — naming a new ambassador to the Holy See.

Argentina opts for family man to help patch up ties with Vatican

September 22, 2008

Pope Benedict meets ambasadors to the Holy See, 9 January 2006/poolArgentina is making a second bid to improve relations with the Vatican after its first attempt caused a diplomatic blunder because Buenos Aires proposed a divorced Catholic with a live-in partner as its new ambassador to the Holy See. The new nominee is reported to be a safer bet. Former government minister Juan Pablo Cafiero is married and the father of four children. In a radio interview over the weekend, he defended the centre-left government as  “the first government in decades that has focused on the distribution of wealth and a preference for the poor … linked to a concept of social justice that is based on humanistic, Christian thinking.”

Debate over who’s a “real Jew” roils Argentine Jewish community

June 13, 2008

AMIA logoThe newly elected president of Argentina’s biggest Jewish community center sparked a firestorm when he was quoted in the press as saying he wanted the group to represent “genuine Jews” who live strictly by the Torah.

Catholic museum probes soccer’s debt to religion

May 22, 2008

AC Milan’s Kaka wears “I belong to Jesus” shirt, 21 May 2008/Leonhard FoegerThe museum at Vienna’s Roman Catholic Cathedral of Saint Stephen has a new exhibition meant to show what it says soccer owes to religion. As my colleague Alexandra Hudson writes from the Austrian capital:

Papal succession speculation sweepstakes off and running

May 4, 2008

Cardinals file into the Sistine Chapel for conclave, 18 April 2005/poolThe papal succession speculation sweepstakes are truly off and running. The Paris daily Le Figaro started it shortly after Pope Benedict’s visit to the United States with an article saying he looked tired and pointedly mentioning possible successors. The Vatican promptly denied any health problems and veteran vaticanisti poured cold water on the story. While we mentioned this here on the blog, we haven’t done a story for the Reuters file because it’s way too early for such speculation. B16 looks like he’s in pretty good shape for 81.

Diplomatic blunder hurts church-state ties in Argentina

February 15, 2008

President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, 16 Jan. 2008/Marcos BrindicciArgentina’s new president, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, is trying to improve relations with the Roman Catholic Church, but progress doesn’t come easy. Church-state ties turned tense under her husband Nestor, who preceded her as president from 2003 to 2007, because he occasionally alluded to church complicity in the country’s brutal 1976-1983 military dictatorship. And his health minister, who favored loosening restrictions on abortion, had a public spat with the bishop assigned to tending to the country’s military forces.