Saturday 16 March 2013

A Curate's Egg

Carlos Tomatis writes:

So was Pope Francis I an accomplice of the 1976-1983 dictatorship in Argentina? It’s impossible to be sure but  on the basis of the evidence before us the  accusation looks like bullshit. The government has made great efforts to find something that would gravely compromise him, without much success. Of course as a prominent Jesuit at the time he did have to make nice with the generals, as did everyone else. But if Argentine people are going to have to say sorry for what they did between 1976 and 1983 when the queue to do so is formed he’s going to be standing well behind many members and supporters of the government.

Bergoglio’s chief sin in the eyes of the government has been his refusal to chant praise of Néstor Kirchner and Cristina Fernández and not support it in its struggle with the farming sector in 2008.  Had he proved a bit more compliant with the wishes of our current secular saviors then they’d be hailing him as a hero of the struggle for human rights in Argentina.

It’s also important to remember that his chief accuser is Horacio Verbitsky,  a prominent  terrorist in the 1960s and 1970s and now a kind of strategist in the shadows for the government. In theory,  Verbitsky is  a journalist but in fact he is someone with full access to the state intelligence services, so you’d imagine that if they had anything serious on him it would have come to light by now.

The nub of the allegations is that Bergoglio failed to protect two of his subordinates in the Jesuit order,  the   priests Orlando Yorio and  Francisco Jalics, who were kidnapped and tortured by the regime in May, 1976. But protect them how?  By the time the men were kidnapped  the armed forces had already taken full control of the country and were conducting a campaign of repression unprecedented in its savagery in Argentina’s history. And it was a campaign that was no respecter of the cloth; it was eventually to take the lives of two bishops, Angelleli and Ponce de Léon. So the idea that a word from Bergoglio could have protected the two priests from the blood drenched psychopaths of the Argentine Navy is rather fanciful.

The evidence doesn’t suggest that Bergoglio behaved either heroically or ignobly but rather that, like most people would do  in such circumstances, he tried to keep his head down and not get swept away  by the horror rolling across the country at the time.

A final point, in the discussion regarding the very real complicity of the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church with the dictatorship, it tends to be forgotten that the hierarchy isn’t the Church, the Church is all the faithful. Many of the leaders and foot soldiers of the “Montoneros”  terrorist organization were devout Catholics and were heavily influenced by liberation theology.

1 comment:

  1. Pope Francis has been linked with the lay movement Communion and Liberation. I know that you are a lay Dominican. Perhaps you might offer a discussion for your readers about the merits of the various Catholic Lay Movements.