International

Mar 18, 2013 6:22 AM by Associated Press

Delicate diplomacy: Pope meets Argentine president

VATICAN CITY (AP) - Pope Francis' diplomatic skills are being put to the test in his first audience with a visiting head of state: Argentine president Cristina Fernandez, with whom he clashed over her socially liberal policies.

Fernandez calls on the former Archbishop of Buenos Aires Monday at his makeshift home, the Vatican hotel on the edge of the Vatican gardens, a day before she and other world leaders attend his installation Mass in St. Peter's Square.

Fernandez and her predecessor and late husband Nestor Kirchner defied church teaching to adopt a series of measures with popular backing, including mandatory sex education in schools, free distribution of contraceptives in public hospitals, and the right for transsexuals to change their official identities on demand. Argentina was the first Latin American country to legalize same-sex marriages.

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