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Argentine President Javier Milei met with Pope Francis today at the Vatican in a one-hour meeting described as friendly and reflecting a spirit of cooperation. In a brief statement after the meeting the Holy See press office reported that the Pope expressed satisfaction with the “good relations'’ existing between the Holy See and the Argentine Republic and hoped they would continue to grow. It added that the two discussed Milei’s government program and how it is addressing the country’s grave economic crisis, and touched on “various international matters, particularly current conflicts and the commitment to peace among nations.” No mention was made of which conflicts were discussed.

Following the private meeting, Milei was joined by Foreign Affairs Minister Diana Mondino, Interior Minister Guillermo Francos, Human Capital Minister Sandra Pettovello, Secretary General of the Presidency Karina Milei (the President’s sister), Secretary for Worship Francisco Sánchez, and Rabbi Axel Wahnish, Milei’s personal “spiritual adviser” whom he has named as Argentina’s new ambassador to Israel.

Milei had just come from his five-day tour of Israel, during which he lavished praise on the Netanyahu government, endorsing its genocide against Gaza proclaiming that the events of Oct. 7 “cannot go unpunished” as Hamas represents “a new version of Nazism and this cannot be allowed.” He flaunted his embrace of messianic Judaism while provocatively announcing the transfer of the Argentine embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, which he said was “a symbol and standard of life and freedom. We choose life.” In Rome, he told Italian reporters, “I’m a Catholic but I also practice a bit of Judaism.” He certainly made no mention of his Catholicism while he was dancing with rabbis and praying at the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem.

After announcing his plans to move the Argentine embassy to Jerusalem, Milei said in a speech there that he wants to see the reconstruction of the Temple in order to fulfill a prophecy that will bring the Messiah to Earth. Palestinian Rev. Isaac Munther of Bethlehem commented, “as if the world needs more lunatics! As if American Christian Zionists are not enough!!! Lord Have Mercy!!”

The Argentine President claims he apologized to Francis, a native of Argentina, for all the gross insults he hurled at him during last year’s election campaign and that the Pope has forgiven him. Now he refers to Francis “as the most important Argentine in all of history.” He was hoping to get a commitment from the Pope to visit Argentina later this year, but so far Francis has only said that such a trip remains “a hypothesis” for now. Afterward, Milei met with Vatican Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, Italian President Sergio Mattarella and Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni.