Pope Francis and the Dirty War - Three articles:
Francis, the Jesuits and the Dirty War
Rumors and questions are circulating about Pope Francis' time as the Jesuit provincial of Argentina and his relationship to two imprisoned Jesuits and the Argentine military dictatorship.
The Society of Jesus is filled with intelligent men who are passionate about their ideas and work, so of course there are arguments and disagreements just as there are in any family. I have had debates with other Jesuits over dinner where voices were raised, but that does not mean I don't love them and would not be willing to die for them. We are a family.
Jorge Mario Bergoglio, like Pope John Paul II, had serious reservations about liberation theology, which was embraced by many other Latin American Jesuits. As a North American, I have trouble understanding these disputes, since John Paul and Bergoglio obviously wanted justice for the poor while the liberation theologians were not in favor of violent revolution as their detractors claimed. But clearly this was an issue that divided the church in Latin America.
Part of the problem was the use of the term "Marxist analysis" by some liberation theologians, when they sought to show how the wealthy used their economic and political power to keep the masses down. The word "Marxist," of course, drove John Paul crazy. Meanwhile, the Latin American establishment labeled as Communist anyone who wanted economic justice and political power for workers. Even many decent but cautious people feared that strikes and demonstrations would lead to violence. What is "prudent" can divide people of good will.
There were also disagreements about how to respond to the military junta in Argentina. As provincial, Father Bergoglio was responsible for the safety of his men. He feared that Jesuit Fr. Orlando Yorio and Jesuit Fr. Franz Jalics were at risk and wanted to pull them out of their ministry. They, naturally, did not want to leave their work with the poor.
Yorio and Jalics were arrested when a former lay colleague, who had joined the rebels and then been arrested, gave up their names under torture as people he had worked with in the past. This was normal practice for the military. The junta did not get information from Bergoglio. Contrary to rumor, he did not throw them out of the society and therefore remove them from the protection of the Society of Jesus.
They were Jesuits when they were arrested. Yorio later left the society, but Jalics is still a Jesuit today, living in a Jesuit retreat house in Germany.
The Jesuit historian Fr. Jeff Klaiber interviewed Jesuit Fr. Juan Luis Moyano, who had also been imprisoned and deported by the military. Moyano told Klaiber that Bergoglio did go to bat for imprisoned Jesuits. There are disagreements over whether he did as much as he should have for them, but such debates always occur in these circumstances.
Adolfo Esquivel, the Argentine who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1980, says Bergoglio was not involved with the military and did try to help the two Jesuits. He himself was imprisoned by the military and his son is married to Mercedes Moyano, the sister of Juan Luis Moyano.
Other rumors circulating say that as archbishop, Bergoglio allowed the military to hide prisoners in an archdiocesan retreat house so that they would not be seen by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights visiting the ESMA prison.
Fact: Bergoglio was not archbishop when this took place. Horacio Verbitsky, an Argentine investigative journalist, says Bergoglio helped him investigate the case.
It is also said there is written evidence in the Argentine foreign ministry files that Bergoglio gave information on the Jesuits to the military. The alleged conversation took place when Bergoglio was trying to get the passport of one of the Jesuits extended. Not only did this take place after they were arrested and after they were released, it was after they were safely out of the country. Nothing he could say would endanger them, nor was he telling the government anything it did not already know. He was simply trying to convince a bureaucrat that it was a good idea to extend the passport of this man so he could stay in Germany and not have to return to Argentina.
More recently, Cardinal Bergoglio was involved in getting the Argentine bishops to ask forgiveness for not having done enough during the dirty war, as it was called in Argentina.
In the face of tyranny, there are those who take a prophetic stance and die martyrs. There are those who collaborate with the regime. And there are others who do what they can while keeping their heads low. When admirers tried to claim that John Paul worked in the underground against Nazism, he set them straight and said he was no hero.
Those who have not lived under a dictatorship should not be quick to judge those who have, whether the dictatorship was in ancient Rome, Latin America, Africa, Nazi Germany, Communist Eastern Europe, or today's China. We should revere martyrs, but not demand every Christian be one.
Nobel Peace Prize winner defends Pope’s actions during ‘dirty war’
CWN - March 22, 2013
An Argentine pacifist who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1980 has come to the defense of Pope Francis’s actions between 1976 and 1983, when the military ruled the nation.
“The Pope had nothing to do with the dictatorship ... he was not an accomplice,” said Adolfo Perez Esquivel.
The future Pope, who served as Jesuit provincial from 1973 to 1979, “was not among the bishops who were in the front line of the defence of human rights because he preferred a silent diplomacy to ask about the missing, about the oppressed,” Perez Esquivel added.
Fr. Francisco Jalics S, J. CAN STAFF, Mar 21, 2013 / 04:08 pm. -
Clarifying previous comments, a priest who was kidnapped during Argentina’s dictatorship in the 1970s is emphasizing that Pope Francis was not responsible for his detainment.
In a statement published on the official website of the Jesuit order in Germany, Father Francisco Jalics said that while he once believed his 1976 kidnapping was due to a denunciation by then-Father Bergoglio, he realized some 20 years ago that this belief was incorrect.
Following the election of Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio to the papacy on March 13, several media reports attempted to connect the new Pontiff to the Argentine dictatorship of Rafael Videla. At the time of the dictatorship, Fr. Bergoglio had been provincial of the Jesuits in Argentina. Father Jalics – who is now retired in Germany – issued a statement sending his best wishes to the new Pope and offering assurances that the two are on good terms.
The 86-year-old priest said that his earlier statements were misinterpreted by the media. He adamantly denied that then-Father Bergoglio played any role in causing his five year-long captivity alongside another priest, Father Orlando Yorio, who died in 2000.
“Since my statement on March 15 of this year, I have received many questions, so I would like to add the following. I almost feel obliged to do so, because some commentaries contradict what I wanted to say,” Fr. Jalics said. “These are the facts: Neither I nor Orlando Yorio or were denounced by Father Bergoglio.”
“As I made clear in my previous statement, we were arrested because of a catechist who worked with us first and later joined the guerilla,” he explained. “For nine months we never saw her again, but two or three days after she was detained, we were detained as well,” he continued. “The official who interrogated me asked for my papers. When he saw that I was born in Budapest, he thought I was a Russian spy.”
“In the Argentinean Jesuit congregation and in Catholic circles, false information spread in the years prior that claimed we had moved to the poor barrios because we belonged to the guerilla. But that was not the case. I suppose these rumors were motivated by the fact that we were not immediately released,” Fr. Jalics said. “I was once inclined to think that we were the victims of a betrayal. But at the end of the 1990s, I realized after many conversations that this assumption was baseless,” the priest explained: “For this reason, it is wrong to assert that our capture happened because of Father Bergoglio,” he declared.
 26th March 13