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A new book has uncovered the quiet but brave actions of Pope Francis during the dictatorship, when he saved the lives of many:

Perhaps the single public figure on the planet right now least in need of rehabilitation of his image is Pope Francis, who's got poll numbers in most places of which politicians and celebrities alike can only dream. Nevertheless, rehabilitation is precisely what Italian journalist Nello Scavo delivers in his new book Bergoglio's List: The Untold Story of the People Saved by Francis during the Dictatorship, which was presented today at the headquarters of the Jesuit journal Civiltà Cattolica in Rome. In reply to persistent charges that the young Fr. Jorge Mario Bergoglio was complicit in Argentina's infamous "dirty war" from 1976 to 1983, when roughly 30,000 people disappeared, Scavo asserts that Bergoglio was actually a Jesuit version of Oskar Schindler – quietly saving lives rather than engaging in noisy public protest.
Giving some specifics:
One such survivor is today a mayor in Uruguay named Gonzalo Mosca, who was accompanied by Bergoglio onto the airplane that carried him to safety while being hunted by the police. Another is an Argentine lawyer and human rights activist named Alicia Oliveira, whose three small children were lodged in a Jesuit college by Bergoglio while she remained in hiding. Twice a week, she said, Bergoglio would take her to see her children, despite the fact that a warrant was out for her arrest.
Earlier claims that Bergoglio had turned in two priests may have been based on misconceptions, as one of the priests in question is now reconciled with Pope Francis:
Jalics and the other Jesuit, Orlando Yorio, who has since died, originally suggested that Bergoglio had turned them in. Yet Jalics, a native on Hungary who today lives in a German monastery, withdrew that charge in a March 20, 2013, statement: "The fact is, Orlando Yorio and I were not denounced by Father Bergoglio." Francis and Jalics met in person in Rome this past Saturday, Oct. 5, with Jalics assisting the pope in celebrating Mass.
Thought folks might like to know -

Originally posted to Wee Thoughts on Sun Oct 13, 2013 at 05:57 PM PDT.

Also republished by Anglican Kossacks and Street Prophets .

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Comment Preferences

  •  Not a duplicate (11+ / 0-)

    But may not fit the narrative preferred by some.

    “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

    by Catte Nappe on Sun Oct 13, 2013 at 06:06:44 PM PDT

  •  I'm really liking this guy, closest I've felt to (15+ / 0-)

    The Church since I left at 14 or so, fairly shortly after my confirmation...

    And I was a just post Vatican II Catholic school student and Alter boy.....I left when the social justice component was slowly killed off and vowed to never return after the Pope disavowed Liberation Theology and over how the local Archdiocese treated my mom in her last days....

    Vaya con Dios Don Alejo
    I want to die a slave to principles. Not to men.
    Emiliano Zapata

    by buddabelly on Sun Oct 13, 2013 at 06:10:58 PM PDT

  •  I hope the Pope keeps driving the narrative (13+ / 0-)

    Who would have ever imagined a humble Vicar of Christ?
    A few well-chosen words from him to our Republican Catholic congressmen about caring for the poor would be appreciated. Made public, those words would be hard to ignore.

    Those who fought the war in Afghanistan won it. Get them out of Afghanistan NOW . . . It's long past time. The time has come to repair this country and care for its' veterans.

    by llbear on Sun Oct 13, 2013 at 06:15:31 PM PDT

  •  Not to rain on any parades, but... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    petral, CroneWit, marykk

    There are two narratives about Bergoglio. One, which has been advanced by James Allen (and now by Nello Scavo), is that he is a good guy.

    Another, which has been advanced by journalist Horacio Verbitzky, is that he is not.

    Nothing in Allen's article leads me to believe that any genuinely new evidence has emerged. If I understand correctly, Scavo's book has been released by a religious publisher. Verbitzky --who has read Scavo--doesn't sound especially penitent.

    The Church and its supporters will naturally want to present the Pope as misunderstood or even as the victim of calumny. Those who dislike the Church--and some journalists like Verbitzky-- will disbelieve the proofs that the Vatican puts forward.

    I am much more interested in seeing what Bergoglio does.

    •  There seems to be general agreement that a (0+ / 0-)

      significant number of people - in the dozens - were helped to escape by Bergoglio. The only accusations of complicity that I have seen focus on whether or how he helped the dictatorship in connection with the two priests. From your link, with some additional formatting:

      (1) The first document is a note in which Bergoglio asked the ministry to allow the renewal of the passport of one of these two Jesuits that, after his releasing, was living in Germany, asking that the passport was renewed without necessity of this priest coming back to Argentina.

      (2) The second document is a note from the officer that received the petition recommending to his superior, the minister, the refusal of the renewal of the passport.

      (3) And the third document is a note from the same officer telling that these priests have links with subversion—that was the name that the military gave to all the people involved in opposition to the government, political or armed opposition to the military—and that he was jailed in the mechanics school of the navy, and saying that this information was provided to the officer by Father Jorge Mario Bergoglio, provincial superior of the Jesuit company.

      This means, to my understanding, a double standard. He asked the passport given to the priest in a formal note with his signature, but under the table he said the opposite and repeated the accusations that produced the kidnapping of these priests.>

      As I understand it these documents date from after the seizure of the priests. Bergoglio's note records a request for passport renewal for the one already released without requiring him to return to the country (which would show concern for the priest's safety). The second note is the officer recommending the opposite to the minister. The third note is not clear to me - it is talking about the priest already in custody and it is not clear which information came from Bergoglio - confirmation of where the priest was help? What specific activity? It does not show that Bergoglio was in any way involved with the initial capture of the priest.

      It seems to me that this is an extremely thin thread to suspend accusations against Bergoglio. No one apparently denies that at risk to himself he assisted a large number of people to escape. How plausible is it that a man who would take the risks he did take to save people would on the other hand assist the dictatorship?

      The "theological" questions don't carry any weight for me as implicating Bergoglio as the article details others who could have been the source for them.

      Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? . . . and respect the dignity of every human being.

      by Wee Mama on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 07:52:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  A problem in translation, I think (0+ / 0-)

        To begin with the excerpt you quote, I think that it is more intelligible if you assume that Verbitsky meant "duplicity" rather than "double standard." That is consistent with what he is saying.

        Verbitsky is trying to decide between the two views of Bergoglio. One standard that he uses to discern who is telling the truth in regard to the imprisonment of the priests. One aspect of his method in that regard is to try to decide whether, long after the priests have been released, Bergoglio is collaborating with the junta or not.

        Bergoglio has claimed that he asked for one priest to be able to return and presents his letter in that regard as evidence he was not collaborating. But Verbitsky found that the junta denied the return of the priest based on an accusation of subversion supplied by Bergoglio.

        When did Bergoglio make this accusation? When the priests were imprisoned? Or when they were asking to return? In the first case, he would have been collaborating outright with a vicious, murderous junta. In the second, his letter asking to allow the return of the priest would be a lie. What is clear, in Verbitsky's view, is that it is not true that Bergoglio tried to facilitate the return of the priest.

        There are more reasons than the case of the priests to believe that Bergoglio was in league with the junta. Verbitsky touches on these. For example, Bergoglio opposed the trial of a cleric who had been directly involved in torture. Unfortunately, Verbitsky is elderly and has some trouble speaking English, as in the critical difference between "double standard" and "duplicity."  So, one has to get very deep in the weeds to sort out all of the issues.

        Again, I think that what matters is how Bergoglio behaves in the future. But one should understand that the questions about his past are relevant and still open.  

        •  Adding (0+ / 0-)

          The case of Christian von Wernich is described here (in Spanish; sorry) or (in greatly diluted form here.

          What it says is that von Wernich collaborated with the junta in some of its horrific crimes, including participation in torture sessions and extortion. When it looked like justice might be closing in, he was allowed to escape to Chile by the Church. At that time, Bergoglio called the accusations against him calumnies and persecution.

          Then von Wernich was relocated in Argentina under a false name as a priest, again with Church complicity.

          When von Wernich was discovered and tried, Bergoglio refused to defrock and discipline von Wernich. Indeed, von Wernich continued his priestly functions in prison. These had the effect of making it look as if the Church--with its enormous influence--had acquitted von Wernich. This had the effect of making his trial more difficult than it should have been.  

          Are these the actions of a man who opposed the junta? Of a man who understands how serious its crimes were? Of a man committed to prevent the Church from returning to the path of supporting murderous right-wing dictators?  

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