Pope Francis has warned Argentina of the dangers of "aggressive polarisation" in a new letter, saying that instability will remain while politics is dominated by division.
The leader of the Catholic Church made his remarks in a letter to the Archbishop of La Plata, Víctor Manuel Fernández, thanking him for a September 29 service that was held to mark his decade as pontiff. Representatives from both the ruling and opposition coalitions were present at the event.
In his missive, Francis expressed concerns over political stability in Argentina and its impact on the nation’s poorest citizens. He also said that while he has not visited his homeland during his time as pontiff, he always carries his country “in his heart.”
He described the service as “an act of affection and recognition that expresses the bonds that unite us.”
"I was informed that sectors of all political persuasions, other religious denominations, people from education, culture, business, justice, etc. were represented. And along with them, there were the humblest workers and the poor who walked as social movements, sustained by their faith and carrying the Virgin and Saint Cajetan. Together they formed a beautiful picture," Francis wrote, referencing the service.
"It comforts my soul that my person has made possible this moment of communion, of encounter beyond differences, because sometimes these small 'truces' prevent violence and confrontation from continuing to advance," he said in comments that some saw as a veiled reference to the recent assassination attempt against Vice-President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner.
"There is much to be done in Argentina, so that everyone can live with the dignity of work and so that there are no second-class citizens. But nothing important or stable will be achieved with aggressive polarisation," Francis wrote in the letter, which was dated October 1.
"This never does a country any good and ends up hurting those who suffer the most," concluded the pontiff.
He also mentioned his failure to visit his homeland: "I am indebted to the whole world and I have yet to visit many large countries, especially some that have never received a visit from a Pope, but I always carry my Argentina in my heart."