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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The pope and the Jesuits of El Salvador

I was happy to see that Jesuit Jorge Mario Bergoglio has been chosen as pope. This outcome is better than any I had hoped for, though of course he's still a conservative. I'd like to bask in relief and hope, but I'm concerned about one thing, the role Bergoglio may have played during Argentina's dirty war in which the church participated in both sides of the conflict. The truth about all this may never be known, but to overlook it seems to dishonor Jesuit priests who spoke out against right-wing dictatorships, sometimes getting killed for doing so, as did the Jesuits in El Salvador years later. Here's a bit about the issue ...

Will Francis's role during Argentina's 'Dirty War' come back to haunt him?

[...] From 1973 to 1979, a period that overlapped with military dictatorship lasting from 1976 to 1983, Francis served as the top Argentine Jesuit official. During that time, the Catholic Church remained silent in the face of widespread human rights violations during the country's so-called "Dirty War," an effort by the military government to root out dissent by torture, murder, and disappearances. In several cases, Catholic priests collaborated with the government and were even in the room as prisoners were tortured. In February, an Argentine court ruled that the Catholic church hierarchy, of which Francis was arguably a member, had "closed its eyes" to the killing of progressive priests. In 2005, human rights lawyers filed a case against then-Cardinal Bergoglio alleging that he had been complicit in the kidnapping of two Jesuit priests ...

Further reading -

Siete Things to Know About Pope Francis & Argentina’s Dirty War

New Pope Tied up in Argentina's 'Dirty War' Debate


Blogger William D. Lindsey said...

Crystal, I have the same questions you have about what happened with Bergoglio and the dirty war. I seem to read conflicting testimony, and am trying to remain open, listen, learn, and suspend judgment until I know much more. And so I very much appreciate the resources you offer here to help educate readers.

9:11 PM  
Blogger crystal said...

Hi William,

Thanks. Yes, who knows, maybe he'll be a really good pope. I guess only time will tell.

9:26 PM  
Blogger Liam said...

I'm reserving judgment on the side of optimism until the conflicting accounts are cleared. I liked very much the style with which Francis presented himself today, I like his history of humility and concern for the poor, and I'm very pleased with his choice of names. I hope he doesn't disappoint too much.

9:31 PM  
Blogger crystal said...

Hi Liam,

Yeah, his concern for the poor is a strong point in his favor and he does seem humble. Given the other alternatives, he seems like one of the best possible choices.

9:39 PM  

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