It is unusual for Pope Francis to abandon traditional Vatican diplomacy to receive the mayor of one of the main European capitals. And that he does it on the eve of an election campaign, even less so. The scene was as follows: "Mr. Mayor of Madrid", Archbishop Carlos Osoro said. José Luis Martínez-Almeida extended his hand to the Holy Father. Francesc squeezed her and surprised her by affirming: "The heir of the great Manuela". It was Manuela Carmena, the mayor who governed when she didn't win and who had to leave when she won. And what did Almeida do? Shrug and smile.
The scene immediately generated a flood of reactions on social networks. Antagonistic, of course. There are those who tried to take advantage of the comment, such as Más Madrid, a party touched in the last few days after its regional candidate, Mónica García, resigned with the social bonus. You see, even the Pope remembers Carmena, they argued.
On the opposite side there are those who saw the Pope's joke as another element of his supposed "communism". You see, do we need any more proof to know that Francesc is left-wing and that he sympathizes with it?, they asked themselves. curious But don't let reality spoil a viral tweet.
It is only necessary to trace a little in the newspaper archive to find out why the Pope mentioned "the great Manuela". Despite the fact that certain sectors of society weigh on them, Francesc knows and praises Carmena for a matter of greater importance. February 2019, migration crisis in the Mediterranean. The Pontiff received Carmena, with Ada Colau and the director of Open Arms, Òscar Camps, dedicated with his boat to rescue people who risk their lives at sea.
Those were complex days and the boats were blocked in the ports. The mayoresses and the patron asked for an audience in Rome and asked the Pope for his intercession. Carmena herself published on Twitter what she talked about in the Vatican rooms with Francis.
He said that he had shared with him "the interest in humanizing politics and the experience of twinning and welcoming that exists in our cities".
Red Pope, as some called him? Rather humanitarian. Sensitive, if they want, to the drama of immigration. The problem is not only in Ukraine. In the Mediterranean, too, every day a great number of lives are at stake.