FaithWorld

Vatican denies Pope Francis stayed silent during Argentine dictatorship

March 15, 2013

(Newly elected Pope Francis I, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina, checks out of the church-run residence where he had been staying in Rome before his election. March 14, 2013,  REUTERS/Osservatore Romano)

The Vatican on Friday strongly denied accusations by some critics in Argentina that Pope Francis stayed silent during systematic human rights abuses by the former military dictatorship.

Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi told reporters the accusations: “Must be clearly and firmly denied.” He added that, “They reveal anti-clerical left-wing elements that are used to attack the Church”.

Critics of Jorge Bergoglio, the former Archbishop of Buenos Aires, allege he failed to protect priests who challenged the dictatorship earlier in his career, during the 1976-1983 “dirty war”, and that he has said too little about the complicity of the Church during military rule.

The allegations centre around a time before Bergoglio became a bishop, when he was leader of the Jesuits in Argentina. Two priests kidnapped by the military government alleged Bergoglio did not protect them.

“There has never been a concrete or credible accusation in his regard. Argentinian justice interrogated him once … but he was never charged with anything,” Lombardi said.

“He documented his denials of the accusations against him. There are also many declarations that show how Bergoglio tried to protect many people in his time during the military dictatorship. His role is very clearly noted.

“When he became bishop, he promoted the whole cause of reconciliation in the Church of Argentina,” the spokesman added.

Some human rights activists in Argentina have questioned the moral credentials of Francis since his election as pope on Wednesday, because of the allegations over the dirty war period.

The Argentinian Church’s reputation was tarnished by links between some high-ranking Roman Catholic clergymen and the military junta that kidnapped and killed up to 30,000 leftists. The wounds have yet to heal.

See also from Buenos Aires Argentina’s pope stood up to power, but has his critics

via Vatican denies Pope stayed silent during dictatorship | Reuters.

Comments
One comment so far | RSS Comments RSS

Regarding Fr. Francisco Jalics, the Jesuit priest kidnapped in Argentina while under Bergoglio saying he’s reconciled with new pope:
This poor Jesuit had no choice but to reconcile with the Pope. He took a vow of poverty. So unless he has a secret Swiss bank account – he has no alternative.

Posted by LoyolaAlum1 | Report as abusive
 

Post Your Comment

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/