Friday, March 15, 2013

Links of Pope Francis to military dictatorship

Jorge Mario Bergoglio's election as Pope has already triggered fierce debate about his past. Was Francis a helper of the Argentine military regime? No, says a Nobel Peace Prize. And rather that he was affirm the surviving relatives of a torture victim.

Speechlessness followed the cheers: With a simple "Buonasera" the new Pope Francis welcomed his flock in Rome - and made a joke about his origin "at the end of the world" . A rhetorical hit that was highly appreciated at the crowd. Even in his native Argentina enthusiasm and a party atmosphere prevailed. However, not among all.

"I can not believe it. I am so sad and so full of rage that I do not know what to do", the sister of the deceased priest and torture victim Orlando Yorio wrote in an email to the journalist Horacio Verbitsky. "Now he has achieved what he wanted."

"He", is for Graciela Yorio the power-hungry man who betrayed her brother and the Hungarian Jesuit Franz Jalics to the military regime- who did not prevent the two clerics from being imprisoned for five months in prison and tortured. "He", now Pope Francis, was still Jorge Mario Bergoglio, Jesuit Provincial of the Argentine.

The two liberation theologians were kidnapped on 23 May in 1976 in a slum where they undertook mission and social work. "Many people who were associated with the political far right saw our presence in the slums with suspicion," Father Jalics later recalled in his memoirs. "They interpreted the fact that we lived there as support for the guerrillas and denounced us as terrorists."

The henchmen of the regime dragged the two Jesuits into the dreaded torture prison Escuela de Mecánica de la Armada (Esma). After five months of detention, they were stripped half-naked and exposed, pumped full of drugs in a field. The priests complained to the Roman Father General Pedro Arrupe about Bergoglio. They had already been expelled from the Jesuit order - allegedly because contacts with women and "obedience conflicts".

For the victims, there was no doubt: Bergoglio had knowingly left them to the death squads. The Jesuit leaders rejected the accusations, rather he had acted behind the scenes to free Yorio and Jalics. In his autobiography, "The Jesuit" from the year 2010, he writes: "I have done what I could to stand up for the hostages, with the age, that I had reached, and the few contacts that I could count on."

Jalics "at peace" with Bergoglio
Human rights lawyer Marcello Parilli reported in April 2005 about the alleged involvement in the kidnapping - just before the conclave in which Bergoglio obtain the second highest number of votes, but withdrew in favor of Ratzinger. A Jesuit spokesman said the report at that time was a "slander". Bergoglio his right not to testify in court twice. When he testified in 2010, his comments were said to be "evasive" by human rights lawyer Myriam Bregman. In 2012 a collective apology for transgressions of the Argentine bishops of the Church in the seventies followed - about 30 years too late.

Yorio never fully recovered from the traumatic experiences in prison. He died in 2000 in Uruguay (Cathcon- blaming Bergoglio for what happened until the day he died, according to other reports). Franz Jalics survived the hard times under torture only with the help of meditation and permanent prayer. He went to Germany in 1978, later writing a book on contemplative retreats. He did not wish to comment to SPIEGEL ONLINE. "He is at peace with Bergoglio" said Jesuit spokesman Thomas Busch. "Some years ago Father Jalics by invitation of the Archbishop went to Buenos Aires, where they talked things over." Nothing is known about the content of the interview.

In Jalics' book from 1995 the reality sounds rather different: leading up to the kidnapping, he described to a Superior the precarious situation and stated that "he (Cathcon- the Superior) is playing with our lives." The "man" promised to inform the military that they were not terrorists. Dozens of documents and the testimony of a witness prove, however, that the same "man" did not defend them, but further denounced them. The same his fellow sufferer Yorio had reported late seventies - but he then had cited the name: Bergoglio.
The Nobel Peace Prize winner Adolfo Pérez Esquivel sprang to the defence of the embattled new Pope on Thursday : "Bergoglio was not an accomplice of the dictatorship," he told, "BBC Mundo". He did not put in question that the church has been silent during the military dictatorship, and it "had provided many bishops who were passive." In Argentina, the military government from 1976 to 1983 led a bloody war against opponents of the regime. The number of desaparecidos, the disappeared is estimated to be 30000. They were kidnapped, tortured and murdered.

The Argentine investigative journalist Horacio Verbitsky - nicknamed "the dog" - has written numerous essays and books on the fateful combination of Catholic church and military dictatorship. He published in 2010 an interview with Yorios sister and brother, Graciela and Rodolfo.

According to them, Bergoglio said in an personal discussion that he put the resolving of the problem fully on the intelligence officers of the army. They would conduct interviews with detainees. Bergoglio had important connections - allegedly he met with Admiral Emilio Massera, a leading member of the junta. The subject explained that he wished to support the clergy discreetly at these meetings. He had nothing to hide.
"I know people he has helped," said Rodolfo, Yorios brother: "That reveals his two faces and its proximity to the military power. He is a master of ambiguity." The bitter reproach: "If the army killed someone, he let it happen, when they rescued him, he was the one who saved him." Therefore, there are people who think he is a saint. "And others are afraid of him."


Cathcon- a comparison with the entirely unjust allegations against Pope Benedict of being a Nazi is called for. Suspect much more information will start appearing about these and other cases.  If it is proved he actually handed over names, we are looking at a second Papal resignation this year. It was said at the time of the Williamson affair that someone should have googled him in the Vatican- it seems that no-one googled Bergoglio or he would not have been elected on the precautionary principle that this might end being a great scandal

Bergoglio's calls for national reconciliation have been seen as an obstacle to the proper investigation of the cases of the 30,000 disappeared. Was this done for the benefit of the Church and the nation, or himself personally?


Tancred said...

Will anyone really consider that during this time, there was a violent insurgency and the Marxist terrorists were threatening the order of Society by their disruptive and often violent and murderous tactics?

Geremia said...

As I think I posted here before, I can't wait to read El Silencio de Paulo VI a Bergoglio: Las relaciones secretas de la Iglesia con la ESMA. (ESMA is the "Navy Petty-Officers School of Mechanics" in Argentina.)

Just based on the title, it appears Paul VI and Bergoglio were close friends…