(CNS) Rafaela Gonzalez spent the wee hours of March 19 watching the installation of the first Argentine pope on the big screens outside the city’s cathedral. She spoke with admiration about Pope Francis, with disdain for the country’s political picture and with concern for the church in a country with an overwhelmingly Catholic population, but a flock moving further from parishes, priests and church practices.
“It’s a very superficial Catholicism” in Argentina, said Gonzalez, a nurse and a member of the Schonstatt Sisters of Mary, a secular institute. “We have catechism classes, but it has not done a lot to deepen the faith.”
Her concerns and complaints cut to the reality of a country where the majority claims to be Catholic, pride for the pope is common and questions persist about the church’s role during the 1976-1983 military dictatorship. [More]