(VATICAN CITY) — Pope Francis, the first Latin American pontiff in history, on Monday meets with a familiar face — in fact, a familiar foe: Argentine President Cristina Kirchner, with whom he has clashed in the past over a slew of social issues.
As then Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the archbishop of Buenos Aires, Francis was at odds with Kirchner in Argentina as she successfully fought to legalize gay marriage in recent years. Defying the church, Kirchner adopted a series of measures such as mandatory sex education in schools, free distribution of contraceptives in public hospitals, and the right for transsexuals to change their official identities.
The two compatriots’ lunchtime meeting — Francis’ first with a head of state — will take place at the Santa Marta residence in Vatican City.
Kirchner is one of many world leaders in Rome for the new pontiff’s inaugural mass Tuesday morning. Vice President Joe Biden, representing the United States, arrived Sunday evening.
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