Did Pope Francis Stay Silent on Argentina 'Dirty War'?

Vatican Denies 'Anti-Clerical' Claims About Pontiff

Mixed Feelings: Argentines celebrated Pope Francis I’s selection as pontiff. But some critics are questioning whether he did enough to speak out against the crimes of the country’s former military dictatorship.
getty images
Mixed Feelings: Argentines celebrated Pope Francis I’s selection as pontiff. But some critics are questioning whether he did enough to speak out against the crimes of the country’s former military dictatorship.

By Reuters

Published March 15, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share

The Vatican on Friday strongly denied accusations by some critics in Argentina that Pope Francis stayed silent during systematic human rights abuses by the former military dictatorship.

Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi told reporters the accusations: “Must be clearly and firmly denied.” He added that, “They reveal anti-clerical left-wing elements that are used to attack the Church”.

Critics of Jorge Bergoglio, the former Archbishop of Buenos Aires, allege he failed to protect priests who challenged the dictatorship earlier in his career, during the 1976-1983 “dirty war”, and that he has said too little about the complicity of the Church during military rule.

The allegations centre around a time before Bergoglio became a bishop, when he was leader of the Jesuits in Argentina. Two priests kidnapped by the military government alleged Bergoglio did not protect them.

“There has never been a concrete or credible accusation in his regard. Argentinian justice interrogated him once … but he was never charged with anything,” Lombardi said.

“He documented his denials of the accusations against him. There are also many declarations that show how Bergoglio tried to protect many people in his time during the military dictatorship. His role is very clearly noted.

“When he became bishop, he promoted the whole cause of reconciliation in the Church of Argentina,” the spokesman added.

Some human rights activists in Argentina have questioned the moral credentials of Francis since his election as pope on Wednesday, because of the allegations over the dirty war period.

The Argentinian Church’s reputation was tarnished by links between some high-ranking Roman Catholic clergymen and the military junta that kidnapped and killed up to 30,000 leftists. The wounds have yet to heal.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • Mazel tov to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky!
  • If it's true, it's pretty terrifying news.
  • “My mom went to cook at the White House and all I got was this tiny piece of leftover raspberry ganache."
  • Planning on catching "Fading Gigolo" this weekend? Read our review.
  • A new initiative will spend $300 million a year towards strengthening Israel's relationship with the Diaspora. http://jd.fo/q3Iaj Is this money spent wisely?
  • Lusia Horowitz left pre-state Israel to fight fascism in Spain — and wound up being captured by the Nazis and sent to die at Auschwitz. Share her remarkable story — told in her letters.
  • Vered Guttman doesn't usually get nervous about cooking for 20 people, even for Passover. But last night was a bit different. She was cooking for the Obamas at the White House Seder.
  • A grumpy Jewish grandfather is wary of his granddaughter's celebrating Easter with the in-laws. But the Seesaw says it might just make her appreciate Judaism more. What do you think?
  • “Twist and Shout.” “Under the Boardwalk.” “Brown-Eyed Girl.” What do these great songs have in common? A forgotten Jewish songwriter. We tracked him down.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.