The Pope Francisco received today in Rome the Archbishop of La Plata, Monsignor Victor Manuel Fernandez, who revealed that they talked about “the Argentine and world reality.” Beyond the difficulty that the pontiff suffers in the knee, and that has led him to appear in some activities in a wheelchair, he said that “His health is better than when he lived in Argentina.”
The meeting took place nine days after Francisco’s private meeting with the Cardinal Mario Poli, to whom he transmitted strong support and whose administrative management in the Archdiocese of Buenos Aires was observed in a Vatican audit. Soon to be 75 years old, the maximum age for the pastoral exercise foreseen in the norms of the Holy See, Poli must present his resignation in November and the Archbishop of La Plata is repeatedly mentioned in ecclesiastical circles as one of the probable successors.
However, nothing is indicated in this regard in the information released by Fernández himself about the meeting with Francisco, in the message that the archbishop directed to the community of La Plata.
“As you know, I am in Rome visiting the Holy Father Francis, with whom I have had a few moments of trusting dialogue, to consult him and listen to his orientations. I have felt very comforted, encouraged and enlightened by his word and his criteria”, commented Archbishop “Tucho” Fernández, one of the Argentine bishops with the greatest reach of the Pope.
“We also talked about the Argentine and world reality, but above all I have felt strengthened again by your figure of father and shepherd”, he said in the message published on the website of the archbishopric of La Plata, which he accompanied with a photograph of the meeting.
Regarding the state of the Pope, Monsignor Fernández commented that “his joy, his hopeful spirit and his sense of humor are intact. I was very consoled seeing that he is in very good health and with the lucid reflection of always”.
“It is true -he continued- that he has to overcome a problem in one of his knees, something that already afflicted him in Buenos Aires and it has reappeared. But I am a witness every day he undergoes more than two hours of rehabilitation and those who attend him trust in the effectiveness of the treatment, which in fact begins to give its first results.
And he added: “Out of this difficulty, I can say that his health is better than when he lived in Argentina and that he is in optimal conditions to continue contributing to the world his lucidity and his testimony that does so much good”.
Born in Alcira Gigena, province of Córdoba, 59 years ago, Fernández took over as Archbishop of La Plata in June 2018, After a long tenure as Rector of the Argentine Catholic University (UCA), in which he was appointed by the then Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio.
In addition to publishing the photo of the meeting with Francisco and another next to the image of San Pedro, the archbishop sent the blessing of the Holy Father to the community of the archdiocese of La Plata and “to the dear Argentine people, which you carry in your heart”.