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Vatican rejects charge that future Pope failed to oppose Argentine military government

Catholic World News - March 15, 2013

The Vatican has released a strong statement rejecting charges that Pope Francis failed to protect priests from the Argentine military government while he was serving as the Jesuit provincial in that country.

Criticism of the future Pope’s role “dates back to many years ago,” said the statement, released on March 15 by the Vatican press office. “It has been been carried out by a publication specializing in sometimes slanderous and defamatory campaigns.”

The charges against then-Father Bergoglio are part of a campaign “by left-wing anticlerical elements to attack the Church,” the Vatican said, adding that the charges “must be firmly rejected.”

More specifically, the statement explained that the criticisms involved a case in which Father Bergoglio allegedly failed to protect two activist Jesuit priests who were kidnapped as part of the "dirty war" of the 1970s and early 1980s in which the government arranged the "disappearance" of thousands of suspected radicals.

This was never a concrete or credible accusation in his regard. He was questioned by an Argentinian court as someone aware of the situation but never as a defendant. He has, in documented form, denied any accusations.

In fact, the Vatican statement continued, many witnesses have testified that the future Pontiff worked energetically to protect people from the military dictatorship. “Bergoglio's role, once he became bishop, in promoting a request for forgiveness of the Church in Argentina for not having done enough at the time of the dictatorship is also well-known,” the Vatican statement added.

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  • Posted by: Defender - Mar. 15, 2013 7:04 PM ET USA

    The press, in their desire to be loved, always finds it necessary to print trash. From Pius XII onward, the press just loves to dig up dirt and, if they can't find any, invent it. Once confined to the oversized paper racks in grocery stores, what were once respected news journals and newspapers, almost all have followed this type of "journalism" down the road to nonsense. What's next, perhaps the pope really comes from outer space?

  • Posted by: jacquebquique5708 - Mar. 15, 2013 6:21 PM ET USA

    You can look at the military dictatorship in Argentina from two perspectives. One is the fact of an evil overreaching condescending entity similar to Hitler. The other would be that a group of loyalists who wished to defend their country against subversion stood up against Communist atheist cowards. That was the accusation against Franco and he was very controversial in that regard. The new pope probably supported the subversive priests instead of hounding them as alleged.

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