Madonna statue returned by Britons to Argentina at Vatican

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis has appeared to wipe away tears during a ceremony in St. Peter's Square for the return of a Virgin Mary statue from Britons to Argentina.

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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 dead from both sides.

Following his public audience Wednesday, Francis wiped his eyes and kissed a stone plaque which honors war dead in his Argentine homeland.

The statue is going back to Argentina, while British Catholics will get a replica.

Britain defeated Argentina, which believed the Falklands were illegally taken from it in 1833.