Mar 14 2013

 

 

 

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There was no way that any Pope would have emerged from the Papal Conclave who was in favor of equality and freedom for the world's LGBT citizens. The best we can hope for is that Pope Francis I will focus on issues of poverty more than Pope Benedict XVI obsession with marriage equality. So it was impossible to be disappointed with Pope Francis I long opposition to full equality for LGBT citizens.

However every human being has their moment when their character is tested and they put their future and even their lives on the line. In El Salvador, Archbishop Romero was assassinated by the military for his opposition to the brutal dictatorship. Also in that war, four nuns were killed by the military and left by the roadside for helping the poor fight for freedom.

Unfortunately, when it came time for Pope Francis I character to be tested he failed miserably.

What is shocking to me about this new Pope is his silence or even support doing the horrible Argentina 'Dirty War'. Somewhere between 15,000 to 30,000 artists, writers, students, intellectuals, trade unionists and even priest were brutally killed, often tortured and their bodies thrown out of airplanes over the ocean.

Argentine Military Junta

The Catholic Church at the best was silent about the 'missing' and supported the military junta when it was in power and conducting the mass killings from 1976 to 1983. In fact, the church handed over two priests who refused to adhere to the church's support for the military's dirty war and they became among the missing.

What we do know with certainty from that period is that the new Pope remained silent about the killing, torture and dumping. We know that he never joined the brave 'mothers' who stood in silence in town squares demanding to know the fate of their children - many who had been dumped into the ocean. We do know that the church destroyed most of the documents from that period. We do know that the church supported the Military Junta saying they were 'patriots'.

The Guardian reports:

The Catholic church and Pope Francis have been accused of a complicit silence and worse during the "dirty war" of murders and abductions carried out by the junta that ruled Argentina from 1976 to 1983.

The evidence is sketchy and contested. Documents have been destroyed and many of those who were victims or perpetrators have died in the years that followed. The moral argument is clear, but the reality of life at that time put many people in a grey position. It was dangerous at that time to speak out and risk being labelled a subversive. But many, including priests and bishops, did so and subsequently disappeared. Those who stayed silent have subsequently had to live with their consciences — and sometimes the risk of a trial.

Its behaviour during that dark period in Argentine history was so unsaintly that in 2000 the Argentine Catholic church itself made a public apology for its failure to take a stand against the generals. "We want to confess before God everything we have done badly," Argentina's Episcopal Conference said at that time.

In February, a court noted during the sentencing of three former military men to life imprisonment for the killings of two priests that the church hierarchy had "closed its eyes" to the killing of progressive priests.

As head of the Jesuit order from 1973 to 1979, Jorge Bergoglio – as the new pope was known until yesterday – was a member of the hierarachy during the period when the wider Catholic church backed the military government and called for their followers to be patriotic.

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Bergoglio twice refused to testify in court about his role as head of the Jesuit order. When he eventually appeared in front of a judge in 2010, he was accused by lawyers of being evasive.

The main charge against Bergoglio involves the kidnapping of two Jesuit priests, Orland Yorio and Francisco Jalics, who were taken by Navy officers in May 1976 and held under inhumane conditions for the missionary work they conducted in the country's slums, a politically risky activity at the time.

His chief accuser is journalist Horacio Verbitsky, the author of a book on the church called "El Silencio" ("The Silence"), which claims that Bergoglio withdrew his order's protection from the two priests, effectively giving the military a green light for their abduction.

The claims are based on conversations with Jalics, who was released after his ordeal and later moved to a German monastery.