As it turns out, the new pope,
Francis I, has a bit of baggage from his days as plain ol’ Cardinal
Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina. It seems that he hit his career
stride during the days when a rather unpleasant military junta
ruled the country (as opposed to Argentina’s other unpleasant
governments), and may have worked a bit more closely with that
regime than somebody aspiring to humanitarian status probably
Bergoglio’s career success coincided with the bloody 1976-1983
military dictatorship, during which up to 30,000 suspected leftists
were kidnapped and killed — which prompted sharp questions about
The most well-known episode relates to the abduction of two
Jesuits whom the military government secretly jailed for their work
in poor neighborhoods.
According to “The Silence,” a book written by journalist Horacio
Verbitsky, Bergoglio withdrew his order’s protection of the two men
after they refused to quit visiting the slums, which ultimately
paved the way for their capture.
Verbitsky’s book is based on statements by Orlando Yorio, one of
the kidnapped Jesuits, before he died of natural causes in 2000.
Both of the abducted clergymen suffered five months of
“History condemns him. It shows him to be opposed to all
innovation in the Church and above all, during the dictatorship, it
shows he was very cozy with the military,” Fortunato Mallimacci,
the former dean of social sciences at the Universidad de Buenos
Aires, once said.
His actions during this period strained his relations with many
brother Jesuits around the world, who tend to be more politically
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