Pope Francis appeared to wipe away tears during a ceremony in St Peter’s Square marking the return to Argentina of a Virgin Mary statue which ended up in Britain after the Falklands War.
Argentine troops had brought a statue of Our Lady of Lujan to the Falkland Islands, or Las Malvinas, when they invaded the British colony in 1982.
After the two-month war, the statue ended up in a military cathedral in Britain, where it served as a focus for prayers for the dead from both sides.
Following his public audience, the Holy Father wiped his eyes and kissed a stone plaque which honours the war dead in his Argentine homeland.
The statue is going back to Argentina, while British Catholics will get a replica at the Catholic Military Cathedral of St Michael and St George in Aldershot.
Britain defeated Argentina, which believed the Falklands were illegally taken from it in 1833.
Picture: Pope Francis poses for photographs with bishops from Britain and Argentina, including the British Bishop of the Forces, Paul Mason (left), as they hold statues of Our Lady of Lujan, the original held at right, and its replica, left, at the end of his weekly general audience in St Peter’s Square, at the Vatican, on Wednesday 30th October 2019. The original statue of the Virgin Mary, Patroness of Argentina, which was brought to Britain at the end of the Falklands War, will be returned to Argentina and its replica, made in Argentina, will be donated to the Catholic Military Cathedral of St Michael and St George in Aldershot, Britain. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini).