(LifeSiteNews) — Journalism in Argentina is thoroughly occupied with the current government’s measures and society’s reactions, as well as with certain aspects of President Javier Milei’s personality, such as his love for dogs – which he considers his “four-legged children” – and his courtship of Fatima Florez. But it does not take into account the religious dimension, which is what I intend to refer to in this note.
Article 2 of the National Constitution imposes on the federal government the obligation to support the “Roman, Catholic, and apostolic religion.” Until the 1994 reform the president of the nation had to be Catholic. The current president is baptized and was a student at a Catholic school, but this does not mean that he has faith and knows and remembers the Creed and the doctrine of the Church. It is striking that instead of the inaugural Te Deum (as has always been the case), an interreligious meeting was held in the Cathedral of Buenos Aires. On that occasion he was clearly moved by the Rabbi’s intervention.
It recently transpired that Milei is studying to become a Jew. If he decides to become a Jew, he will have to undergo the rite of circumcision. Even if he does not practically live the Catholic religion, he could perhaps have faith and remember – because he must have learnt something at school – the Creed. His change of religion has a technical name: apostasy.
The word is an exact transcription of the original Greek. In the classical world, apostasy meant defection, turning away, abandonment of a party. The Diccionario de la Real Academia Española translates “apostatar” (the verb corresponding to the noun) in its first meaning: “To deny the faith of Jesus Christ received in baptism.”
The president’s transition to Judaism implies an incomprehensible turning back. It is reasonable for a Jew to become a Christian, not the other way around. I am thinking in terms of biblical theology: the Old Testament, i.e., the Torah, the Nebiyim, and the Ketubim of Israel constitute an announcement, a prologue, a prophecy of the Gospel proposed by the Messiah. In this sense, we can understand a saying of Jesus in His dialogue with the Samaritan woman, which we read in John 4:22: “Salvation (sōtēria) comes from the Jews (ex tōn ioudaiōn).” But post-Christian Judaism, the main text of which is the Talmud, is profoundly anti-Christian.
In the Acts of the Apostles, and in the Letters of St. Paul, the persecution the nascent Church suffered from the Jews is attested. Subsequent history has been seriously checkered. Talmudic Judaism has aspired to world domination: a secular and distorted fulfillment of the vocation promised to Abraham and his descendants. I am not judging President Milei’s subjective notions but rather the deeper meaning of his gesture. With all due respect, it is likely that, just as he did not understand being a Christian, he does not understand being a Jew.
It remains to be seen, if his apostasy is realized, what implications he attaches to this new position. It is notable that the president adheres to the natural order: the right to life from conception and the sense of familial community. Indeed, his speech against abortion and gender ideology at the globalist World Economic Forum in Davos is to be applauded. It can do a lot of good in a society that is unhinged like ours because of bad politics; it will be a correction of the misguided path. His vice presidential pick is a reassurance that allows hope to be preserved.
God’s providence respects the freedom and responsibility of secondary causes; as a consequence it allows evil, which in its inscrutable designs is somehow a function of the good. With regard to the religious question I am addressing in this note, I feel that it was necessary – as is unfortunately common – for a bishop to approach, if not the candidate, then the president-elect. As always, the bishops’ conference makes mistakes in its decisions and positions in relation to society and the centers where cultural and social vigor is generated. In this case, I dare to think that the bishops expected Sergio Massa to win; that is why they abandoned the one who would receive the votes of the majority. The episcopate always slips up, and that is how we are doing! So goes the Church, overtaken by practical atheism and the wave of evangelicalism.
As I wrote above, it remains to be seen what implications the president’s religious turn might have. However, we should take an interest in his personal situation. I am persuaded that he is completely ignorant of Christian doctrine; he should be offered the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Although I am a bishop emeritus, quickly relieved of my duties at the age of 75, and I spend this twilight of life between prayer, study, articles, and other apostolates in the media and culture, I offer myself to talk to the president on the religious subject. An intelligent person like him could understand the doctrinal universe of Catholicism and review his inclination towards Judaism. I also think he should know the Gospel, in which the Jewish roots and its preparedness are evident.
In the meantime, the president should take care of the constitutional prescription that imposes on the state the obligation to support the Roman, Catholic, and apostolic religion.
+ Héctor Aguer
Archbishop Emeritus of La Plata
Buenos Aires, Saturday, January 27, 2024