Photo: Pope Francis and Cristina Fernandez
An Argentine bishop who is a close associate of Pope Francis, said Thursday that the letter the pontiff allegedly sent recently to Argentine President Cristina Fernandez, and the contents of which were made public on Thursday by the Buenos Aires government, is a fake.
“It was done with a great deal of malice,” said Monsignor Guillermo Karcher, the Vatican spokesman, to Argentine television channel C5N.
Karcher said that the pope is not angry about the incident, however, but is asking himself “who would think about doing such a thing?”
“It’s bad to have made use of the pope’s name,” said Karcher, a close collaborator of Francis, who was born Jorge Bergoglio and is the former archbishop of Buenos Aires.
On Thursday morning, the Argentine president’s office released to the press the contents of the alleged missive written on the letterhead of the Apostolic Nunciature in Buenos Aires, although it did not bear the proper seal.
Karcher pointed out other apparent mistakes in the format of the letter, including the fact that it was dated in the “Vatican,” written in capital letters and signed “Francis” - ostensibly by the pontiff himself - when protocol holds that a papal representative should have signed it.
“We have no information that it is fake,” said sources in the Argentine president’s office who were contacted by Efe, and a copy of the letter remains posted on the government’s Web page.
In the supposed papal missive, Francis addresses Fernandez as “Cristina,” and congratulates “all Argentines” on the country’s national day, to be celebrated on May 25, wishing them “a peaceful cohabitation” and urging them to build “a constructive dialogue” after the upcoming 204th anniversary of the May Revolution.