Today we will see the inauguration of the new pope Franciscus I.
Recently I learned that this pope, who is already much beloved for his modesty and compassion, is not only
addicted, as I am, to the Argentine mate; but also, before he became a Jesuit, he used to dance the tango, as a
true man of Buenos Aires! Well, the old myth tells us that the pope, in the beginning of last century, had banned
the tango, it being lush and obscene, and that because of that the purified version, the ballroom tango, was born.
I have done some research; as far as one can verify, three popes have been known to have an interest in the matter
between 1914 and 1939: Pius X, Benedictus XV and Pius X. They all did request a demonstration of the tango dance.
Pius X, who was not presented with the best tango dancers one could imagine, found it rather slow and boring. Pius XI,
on the other hand, had the privilege to witness the performance of an excellent Argentine dancer: Casimiro Aín’, ‘El Vasquito’.
At the end the pope retired without any comment.
In 1967 the president of the Academia Porteña de Lunfardo (which studies and cultivates the Buenos Aires dialect, the
lunfardo, which is widely used in tango lyrics), recieved a letter of the Junta Histórica Eclesiastica Argentina (which is
concerned with the history of the Catholic Church of Argentina); this notified that to their knowledge there does not
exist any official ban by the church of the tango from a moral point of view.
So hurray, long live the tango!