Argentine President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner took to social media within hours after the Argentine Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was chosen as the first Latino Pope to send her congratulations -- a move that seemed to smooth over tensions in a relationship strained by years of political squabbles.
His Holiness Francis I:
In my name, in the name of the Argentine Government, and on behalf of the people from our country, I want to greet you and express my congratulations on your election as the new Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church.
It is our desire that you have, as you assume the leadership and guidance of the church, a fruitful pastoral career, playing such great responsibility toward advancing justice, equality, fraternity and peace of mankind.
I extend to Your Holiness, my consideration and respect.
A su Santidad Francisco I twitter.com/CFKArgentina/s…
— Cristina Kirchner (@CFKArgentina) March 13, 2013
As a member of the Episcopal Conference of Argentina, Bergoglio clashed repeatedly with President Kirchner, as well as with her late husband and former president Néstor Kirchner.
Argentine media have confirmed in the past that between 2003 and 2007, President Néstor Kirchner had several clashes with the new Pope over the issue of gay marriage, even labeling them as having an "adversarial relationship."
The confrontation peaked when Bergoglio became the face of the opposition against gay marriage in the South American country, Argentine daily Clarín reports. The same newspaper also said Kirchner always felt the Church was virtually the only factor that set limits to his presidential term.