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The Pope Francis Human-Rights Question

Reports surface about his years in Argentina

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HABEMUS PAPAM FRANCISCUM,” the Vatican yelled in all caps on its Twitter page. The news had broken: An Argentine cardinal named Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected to be the 266th pope yesterday and would take on the name Francesco in his new capacity.

In Argentina, a country that is estimated to have as many as 30 million Catholics, many people seemed excited that their country received a wave of positive attention, but also somewhat apprehensive. After the long-awaited puff of white smoke was seen coming out of the chimney of the Sistine Chapel, reports quickly surfaced that the new pope led a Jesuit order in Buenos Aires during a time that the Argentine military dictatorship killed and kidnapped about 30,000 people. The Catholic Church in Argentina has been ardently blamed for not doing enough to intervene, and Bergoglio himself publicly endorsed the military dictatorship at the time.

Tiempo Argentina is reporting that Bergoglio could be called to federal court to testify for the third time in a case involving crimes against humanity for his interaction with a pregnant woman named Elena de la Cuadra, and her husband, Hector Baratti, who were both kidnapped on Feb. 23, 1977. According to Elena’s sister, Elena gave birth to a daughter who was then taken by Argentine authorities. At the time, Elena appealed to Bergoglio for help and received a letter saying that a bishop would intercede, but after a few months passed, the bishop reported that the baby had already been adopted by an important family and that the kidnapping could not be reversed. Despite the letter, Jorge Bergoglio has denied that he knew anything about kidnapped children until after the military dictatorship was overthrown.

Bergoglio, a soft-spoken and quiet man, hid other people who came to him for help, but has also been blamed for failing to protect two priests, Francisco Jalics and Orlandio Yorio, who were abducted by the military on May 23, 1976, and tortured for failing to renounce their liberation theology. As uncovered in 2010 by a Jewish Argentine journalist named Horacio Verbitsky, Bergoglio played a role in the military government’s crackdown on Catholic priests and had questionable dealings with Jorge Videla, the infamous Argentine dictator between 1976 and 1981.

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Poupic says:

Well he fits right in! During the Shoa the Pope was silent too and some say involved. At the very least the Catholic church saw the Shoa as an opportunity to convert Jewish children to Catholicism. In the dirty war, children of the disappeared were given away to the elite in power. Everybody think of Francis of Assisi when it is more likely a Jesuit Francis of the colonization of Latin America he chose. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même cjhose.

    Yechiel Gordon says:

    I agree. The Vatican, with military aid from the US and Israel — see photos of Ariel Sharon with neo-nazi generals with whom he collaborated — waged a war against
    freedom, democracy and liberation theology throughout the period of the dirty war.

I remain sceptical about someone who claims to be humble and to have made an ‘option for the poor’ (a Liberation Theology concept), yet, if I am right, refuses to permit contraception, thus causing untold suffering for poor Catholics, both because it results in excessively large families and because it exposes many women, especially in Africa, to venereal diseases and AIDS. He remains firm in denying women the right to become priests. He continues the tradition of condemning homosexuality as a sin. He may not be a thoroughly bad sort, as his concern for the poor suggests, but he clearly not going to be the reformer the Catholic Church so badly needs. But what do you expect when all those available for the post of Pope are over 60 or more?

    I don’t understand what is so confusing about the Church’s position on contraception and the simultaneous opposition to poverty.

    The Church’s position on contraception and human life is very straightforward and simple: Life begins at conception and it’s God’s will when a woman becomes pregnant. Anything that interferes with conception is interfering with God’s will.

    All religion is silly voodoo to me, but I understand where believers are coming from and this belief on human life and contraception has absolutely nothing to do with what is an honest concern for the poor by some members of the clergy. Plenty of families have many children and don’t live in poverty, and in a just world, people should not be forced to choose between children and poverty.

    Does the Church’s opposition to contraception cause actual suffering for countless women? Sure does, but the Church’s position is one based upon religion, not logic. What is so hard to understand about that?

as Pope, Bergoglio is protected by Sovereign immunity and won’t be appearing or testifying anywhere.

Beatrix17 says:

The men who chose the Pope thinks G-d suspends the laws of old age for men who become Pope. 76 years old and they think he’s going to inspire change.

Armorer says:

The headlong rush by Jewish organizations to praise the new pope is at best unseemly and at worst immoral. We already know that he did NOTHING to stand up to the military during the years when 30,000 Argentinians were “disappeared,” that is to say, tortured, drugged and dropped from helicopters to their deaths in the Rio Plata or the ocean. He is actually charged with turning priests over to the military. Jewish organizations in particular should be wary of this man. Among the “disappeared” were a great number of young Jewish university students, and in many cases their only “crime” was being Jews. The Vatican’s failure of due diligence may well come back to haunt it. I suspect their investigation into the charges against him have been handled in the same reprehensible and slovenly manner as the investigation into pederast priests and the higher-ups that shielded them. If the truth is a black as many suspect, it will cause an already reeling Catholic Church grave damage if the scandal erupts during his papacy. In the meanwhile, Jews and Jewish institutions should show greater respect for those murdered and keep their judgment of this pope in abeyance.

No surprise here: a pope gets elected, and articles like this get written, prompting the usual bigots to pour into the combox with similarly half-baked ideas, dubious sources, selective indignation, historical cherry-picking, preening moral grandstanding. Let’s face it: for a liberal, the pope’s real crime is in not being just like them. I think I can safely assume that the writer and the commenters here are all Obama supporters, but when it comes to the drive-by drone-bomber, one will not hear a peep out of them, such is their deep-seated hypocrisy.


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The Pope Francis Human-Rights Question

Reports surface about his years in Argentina

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