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Political opponents falsely accuse Pope Francis

March 24, 2013

Faith News Note:

One of America’s top Western hemisphere experts is Mary Anastasia O’Grady of the Wall Street Journal who is a regular writer for the newspaper. Much has been reported in the media about Argentine critics who fault Pope Francis for being silent if not abetting oppressive elements in Argentina during previous national struggles. O’Grady wrote about how many voices who lived through it are coming to teh defense of Pope Francis and stating such claims are untrue. Here is what O’Grady said,

Intellectually honest observers with firsthand knowledge of Argentina under military rule (1976-1983) are telling a much different story than the one pushed by Mr. Verbitsky and his ilk. One of those observers is Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, winner of the 1980 Nobel Peace Prize. Last week he told BBC Mundo that “there were bishops that were complicit with the dictatorship, but Bergoglio, no.” As to the charge that the priest didn’t do enough to free junta prisoners, Mr. Pérez Esquivel said: “I know personally that many bishops who asked the military government for the liberation of prisoners and priests and it was not granted.”

Former Judge Alicia Oliveira, who was herself fired by the military government and forced into hiding to avoid arrest, told the Argentine newspaper Perfil last week that during those dark days she knew Father Bergoglio well and that “he helped many people get out of the country.” In one case, she says there was a young man on the run who happened to look like the Jesuit. “He gave him his identification card and his [clergy attire] so that he could escape.”

Ms. Oliveira also told Perfil that when she was in hiding at the home of the current minister of security, Nilda Garré, the two of them “ate with Bergoglio.” As Ms. Oliveira pointed out, Ms. Garré “therefore knows all that he did.”

Graciela Fernández Meijide, a human-rights activist and former member of the national commission on the disappearance of persons, told the Argentine press last week that “of all the testimony I received, never did I receive any testimony that Bergoglio was connected to the dictatorship.”

None of this matters to those trying to turn Argentina into the next Venezuela. What embitters them is that Father Bergoglio believed that Marxism (and the related “liberation theology”) was antithetical to Christianity and refused to embrace it in the 1970s.

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