‘Dirty War’ Memo Proves Pope Francis Passed Info on Jailed Priests to Dictatorship
Allegations that Jorge Bergoglio, now Pope Francis I, collaborated with Argentina’s brutal military dictatorship have been circulating for decades. The Pope, and the Vatican he now heads, have vehemently denied these allegations.
The Vatican has dismissed the allegations against the new Pope as a “left-wing anti-clerical attack on the church.” Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi insisted there has never been a “concrete or credible accusation” against Bergoglio.
On Sunday, an Argentinian newspaper published a government memo that seems to definitively prove that Bergoglio did indeed provide information to the murderous dictatorship, informing authorities about allegations against two Jesuit priests who had been kidnapped, tortured and imprisoned for five months for allegedly contacting anti-regime leftist guerrillas. Furthermore, Gregoglio is alleged to have sold the priests out even while he personally promised them his protection.
On March 13, Moral Low Ground published a lengthy article detailing Jorge Bergoglio’s– and the Argentine Catholic church’s– alleged role in collaborating with that country’s brutal, US-backed military dictatorship, a regime characterized by kidnapping, torture, murder and disappearance. As many as 30,000 people, from students, trade unionists, journalists and leftists and their sympathizers to children and even pregnant women (whose babies were stolen), were killed or disappeared during the 1976-1983 ‘Dirty War,’ which was fully supported by the Carter and Reagan administrations. Many of the most brutal regime figures, including the dictator Gen. Leopoldo Galtieri, were trained by the US military in kidnapping, torture, assassination and democracy suppression.
Clergy who were critical of the regime, or who associated with groups deemed enemies, were targeted for imprisonment, torture and sometimes assassination. Conversely, other priests enthusiastically collaborated with the perpetrators of horrific abuses. Father Christian von Wernich, a former police chaplain, was sentenced to life in prison for his involvement in dozens of cases of kidnapping, torture and murder during those dark years.
It has been alleged in a lawsuit that Jorge Bergoglio, who was the leader of Argentina’s Jesuit order at the time of the military dictatorship, was involved in the kidnapping of two of his fellow Jesuit priests, Orlando Yorio and Francisco Jalics, who were working to help the slum-dwelling poor, some of whom were linked to leftist rebels. The priests were imprisoned by the navy, tortured and held for five months before being dumped half-naked and drugged in a field. The new Pope claims he intervened on their behalf to secure their eventual release, saving their lives. This may very well be true, although there is no documented proof of it.
Yorio, who died in 2000, accused Bergoglio of “effectively handing [the priests] over to death squads.” “I am sure that he himself gave over the list with our names to the navy,” Yorio said at a 1985 trial of military junta leaders.
As for Bergoglio’s claim that he saved the priests’ lives, Father Yorio flatly denied this.
“I do not have any reason to think he did anything for our release, but much to the contrary” the priest told Horacio Verbitskty, one of Argentina’s most respected investigative journalists. Yorio said Bergoglio had expelled him from his post at a Jesuit school and spread false rumors that “I was a communist, a subversive guerrilla who was after women, rumors that immediately came to the attention” of the regime’s dreaded security forces.
As for Jalics, he seems to have made his peace with Bergoglio and now says he is “unable to comment on the role” of the new Pope in his ordeal. “I am reconciled and on my part, consider the matter to be closed,” he recently said. Forgiveness is a central tenet of Christianity. But in an earlier book, Jalics wrote that, “from subsequent statements by an official and 30 documents that I was able to access later, we were able to prove, without any room for doubt, that his man did not keep his promise [to protect the priests], but on the contrary, he presented a false denunciation to the military.”
Indeed, the Argentinian newspaper Página 12 has reprinted a foreign ministry memo from 1979 that specifically mentions Bergoglio providing information about the earlier allegations against Jalics and Yorio, which include having contact with guerrillas and fomenting dissent among nuns. A foreign ministry official noted that “this information was provided… by Father Bergoglio.”
In his book, El Silenco (The Silence), Verbitsky also exposes Bergoglio’s attempt to cover up his fealty to the murderous regime by expunging incriminating passages from a book he wrote detailing a 1976 meeting between Church leaders and the ruling junta. Deleted was a vow that the Church “in no way intends to take a critical position toward the action of the government,” as well as a declaration of the Church’s “understanding, adherence and acceptance” of the regime’s policies. Indeed, during the dictatorship, priests offered communion and God’s forgiveness to torturers and murderers, with priests allegedly giving at least tacit blessing to ‘death flights’— by which drugged and tortured regime victims were dumped into the sea from airplanes– as “a Christian form of death.”
Verbitsky also accuses Bergoglio of hiding dozens of political prisoners from a visiting delegation of international monitors from the Inter-American Human Rights Commission.
Yet another accusation leveled against Bergoglio is that he failed to adequately help a family who lost five members to the junta’s murderers. Five members of the de la Cuadra family, including a pregnant woman, were killed after appealing to the Jesuit leadership in Rome for protection. The Jesuits then reportedly turned to Bergoglio, who assigned a subordinate to the case. The subordinate reportedly returned to Bergoglio with a letter from a colonel informing that the pregnant woman, who in keeping with the regime’s twisted notions of Christianity had been kept alive long enough to give birth, was dead and that her baby had been given to a family “too important” to remove it from.
Pope Francis claims he had no knowledge of stolen babies, of which there hundreds, if not thousands, until after the end of the dictatorship. He claims to have “did what [he] could with the age and the little influence [he] had” to save people from the regime.
According to an Argentinian human rights group established to locate babies stolen during the ‘Dirty War’ period, Pope Francis did not do nearly enough to help victims.
“Bergoglio has a very cowardly attitude when it comes to something so terrible as the theft of babies,” Estela de la Cuadra, daughter of Grandmothers of the Plaza of Mayo founder Alicia de la Cuadra, told the Associated Press.
“He has never spoken of the problem of people who had disappeared under dictatorial rule, and 30 years have already passed since our return to democracy,” Grandmothers of the Plaza of Mayo president Estela Carlotto, whose pregnant daughter Laura was abducted, tortured and murdered by regime forces, told Agence France-Presse. Laura’s son has never been found.
“I am a Catholic, and many of us sought help from the Church in the first years of the dictatorship because we believed that bishops were on our side,” Carlotto added with disappointment.
But as the regime’s own documents now seem to prove, not only did Bergoglio fail to help those in life-or-death situations, the new Pope actively collaborated with those who kidnapped, tortured and murdered thousands of men, women and children.
Critics claim the Vatican also shares the blame. Global Research reports that the Vatican supported the collaboration between the Argentinian Catholic Church and the dictatorship during the ‘Dirty War.’ In 1981, another new pope, John Paul II, traveled to Buenos Aires in a show of support with the junta, kissing Gen. Galtieri and uttering not a word about the tens of thousands of Argentinians who’d been kidnapped, tortured, murdered and disappeared.
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