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Did Pope Francis' hands get "dirty" collaborating with Argentina's brutal military junta in '76?

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Pope Francis
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OKLAHOMA CITY – As the Roman Catholic world (and
many, many others) learn that the 76-year-old Archbishop of Buenos Aires,
Argentina, Jorge Mario Bergoglio, was chosen to be the new pope – Pope Francis –
they are eagerly looking for more information on the first Jesuit and first
papal choice from the Americas.

Pope Francis, reporters are telling us, is
interested in social justice and the poor. And while it remains to be seen if
he will be a reformer – married priests, acceptance of homosexuals and a truly “no
tolerance” stance on child-sex abuse -  he needs to be further asked about his role during
Argentina’s Dirty War and accusations made about him and his purported
complicity in allowing two priests to be kidnapped by the military junta. Bergoglio denied any involvement, naturally.

Of course, given his history, it is expected that Pope Francis will be a solid conservative
on matters of doctrine, having come out strongly against same-sex marriage. Who knows. Perhaps he will have a change of heart. Regardless, his tone has been hostile in recent years, with Argentinian President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner calling Bergoglio’s retrograde comments against the LGBT community as reminiscent of “medieval times and the
Inquisition.”

Going back in history, to a dark time in Argentina's recent past, on the memorable day July 4, 1976, three Pallottine
priests and two seminarians at San Patricio church in Buenos Aires were slain during
the height of Argentina’s “Dirty War.” Two months earlier, in May 1976, those two outspoken Jesuit priests were
kidnapped, while Bergoglio was head of the Jesuits of Argentina. Leftists and reformers were often victims of torture and horrific deaths - sometimes being thrown out of airplanes high over the South Atlantic. Reportedly Bergoglio's two priests survived.

We note that because, according to Wikipedia entry
on Pope Francis that “on April 15,
2005, a human rights lawyer filed a criminal complaint against Bergoglio, as
superior in the Society of Jesus of Argentina, accusing him of involvement in
the kidnapping by the Navy in May 1976 (during the military dictatorship) of two

Jesuit priests, whom he, as superior of the
Society of Jesus of Argentina in 1976, had asked to leave their pastoral work
following conflict within the Society over how to respond to the new military
dictatorship, with some priests advocating a violent overthrow. Bergoglio's
spokesman flatly denied the allegations.

A few months after that accusation, Archbishop Bergoglio called for those
killed by the brutal right-wing military junta in the 1976 San Patricio church
massacre, to be beatified. But many believe that was a cynical decision in
order to take the heat of himself a few months after that suit was filed. Some say the beatification announcement was Bergoglio's effort to “whitewash his personal history," as noted by the
Chicago Tribune.

In recent years the Roman Catholic Church in Argentina has “acknowledged its
failure to challenge the military’s anti-leftist repression” between 1976 and
1983. And while there were 30,000 desaparecidos – the disappeared – the Church
was “scandalously and sinfully close to the dictatorship.” The Church in
Argentina has offered half-baked apologies for its role but as human-rights
activists have said, those apologies were “more cosmetic than anything else.”

Of course the Argentine Church’s admiration of Nazis and
fascists is well-documented, via the “Ratlines” which were a system of escape
routes for Nazis and other fascists fleeing Europe at the end of WWII. After
all, Argentine Bishop Antonio Caggiano offered Argentina as a refuge for
European war criminals who were hiding in Rome.

And while Catholics cheer for their new pope, a
seemingly humble man from the Southern Hemisphere, will Pope Francis come clean
about his role in the Church during the horrific years of Argentina’s Dirty
War?

Copyright
2013 Red Dirt Report

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Andrew W. Griffin

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Andrew W. Griffin received his Bachelor of Science in Journalism from...

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Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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