Pope Francis appoints Archbishop made in his own image. Bishops being appointed for Bergoglianism rather than Catholicism.

Pope Francis has appointed the bishop of Rio Gallegos as the new Archbishop of Buenos Aires.

Monsignor Jorge Ignacio García Cuerva is 55 years old and has pastoral experience with the poorest and neediest; he will replace Mario Poli, who yesterday led his last Te Deum.

 As expected and surprising everyone with a name outside the speculation, Pope Francis today finally appointed as the new archbishop of Buenos Aires the current bishop of Rio Gallegos, Monsignor Jorge Ignacio García Cuerva, 55, known as one of the "slum priests" for his pastoral experience.

The Vatican's daily bulletin also reported that the Pope at the same time accepted the resignation presented by Cardinal Mario Aurelio Poli, having turned 75 on 29 November 2022, and appointed him apostolic administrator of Buenos Aires, with the faculties of Archdiocesan archbishop, until his successor takes canonical possession.

The appointment was published simultaneously in Buenos Aires, where the Apostolic Nuncio, Monsignor Miroslaw Adamczyk, spread the information through the AICA agency.

The choice of García Cuerva came as a surprise because his name was not among those on the shortlist. In ecclesiastical circles there was speculation about Carlos Azpiroz Costa, Archbishop of Bahía Blanca; Jorge Lozano (San Juan) and Víctor Manuel Fernández (La Plata). But a surprise appointment was also considered very likely, a characteristic very typical of Francis' style, as occurred in other appointments of Archbishops in important sees, such as Tucumán and Córdoba, among others.

The news came at a time when an imminent decision was expected on the successor to Cardinal Poli as head of the Archdiocese of Buenos Aires, whom Francis received in audience at the Apostolic Palace on 20 April and who yesterday officiated his last traditional Tedéum in the Buenos Aires cathedral for the national holiday.

García Cuerva, a choice outside the shortlist that had been presented, is more than in line with Francis' vision of the Church. Because of his pastoral experience with the poorest and neediest, he was first a "slum priest" and then a "slum bishop".

Born in Río Gallegos, Santa Cruz province, on 12 April 1968, he studied philosophy and theology at the seminary of the diocese of San Isidro and was ordained to the priesthood on 24 October 1997. He has a degree in Theology with a specialisation in Church History from the Catholic University of Argentina and a degree in Canon Law from the same university. He also obtained a law degree from the Catholic University of Salta.

He was parochial vicar of Nuestra Señora de la Cava (1997-2005); parish priest of Santa Clara de Asís (2005-2014) and parish priest of Nuestra Señora de la Cava in Béccar. He was vice-president of the diocesan Caritas of San Isidro, regional advisor of the Prison Pastoral, secretary of the Episcopal Commission of Prison Pastoral of the Episcopal Conference of Argentina and chaplain of several prisons in the province of Buenos Aires.

On 20 November 2017, Francis appointed titular bishop of Lacubaza and auxiliary bishop of Lomas de Zamora. He received episcopal consecration on 3 March 2018. On 3 January 2019 the Holy Father Francis appointed him Bishop of Río Gallegos; he began his pastoral ministry on 23 March 2019.

In the Argentine Episcopal Conference he is a member of the Episcopal Commission for Prison Pastoral Care. On 20 July 2021, the Holy Father appointed him, in the Vatican, as a member of the Dicastery for Bishops. He is also vice-president of the International Commission for Prison Pastoral Care.

A man the Pope trusts, García Cuerva - who could be appointed cardinal at the next consistory - will take office next July and thus replace Cardinal Poli in Argentina's most important diocese, who in 2013 - in one of Francis' first appointments - had been chosen to succeed him as archbishop of Buenos Aires.

Poli has always cultivated a low profile. So much so that in November 2017 he asked not to be voted by the bishops as president of the Episcopate in the plenary assembly that consecrated the head of San Isidro, Monsignor Oscar Ojea.

The archbishop, who had accompanied Cardinal Bergoglio as Bishop and Episcopal vicar of the Flores area, was at the head of the Santa Rosa diocese when the Pope appointed him in Buenos Aires.

At the end of 2021, under his administration and in an episode that caused a stir, the Archdiocese of Buenos Aires received an audit from the Holy See, which observed inconsistencies in the administration and sale of real estate of the ecclesiastical see.


Cathcon: The Archbishop himself declared before his name was mentioned that he was the most Bergogolian of the Bishops.   Simple careerism.


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