New book says Pope Francis acted like a secret agent


As Jesuit provincial in Argentina, Pope Francis showed the abilities, prudence and shrewdness of a secret agent to save the lives of more than 100 people during the nation’s Dirty War in the 1970s.

This is the assessment of Italian journalist Nello Scavo, who has just released a book recounting Father Jorge Mario Bergoglio’s efforts in helping Argentines escape persecution by the military dictatorship.

“The picture that emerges of Bergoglio is that of a capable man, who acted with the prudence and shrewdness of a 007,” Scavo told Vatican Radio.

During much of the 1970s, Argentina was ruled by a right-wing military government, which “disappeared” thousands of left-wing activists and militants, accusing them of communism.

Numerous priests and religious were killed for their work in the poor neighbourhoods of Buenos Aires, which was considered a communist act.

During this time, Father Bergoglio — now Pope Francis — used his position to create an underground network of assistance and escape for those targeted by the dictatorship.

Scavo, a journalist with the Italian bishops’ newspaper Avvenire, said it’s not possible to give precise estimates of how many lives Bergoglio saved, mainly because he never wanted to talk about his efforts. He also did not collaborate on the book.

But the author cautiously estimates that “more than 100 people were certainly saved” by the Jesuit priest and many others — perhaps more than 1200 — were “indirectly saved” by his actions.

Ironically, at the time the future pope was accused of complicity with the regime, critics saying he was too silent about the human rights abuses taking place.

Scavo has titled his book Bergoglio’s List, referring to the famous list maintained by Oskar Schindler, the German businessman who saved some 1200 Jews from being murdered during the Holocaust.

Schindler, incidentally, lived for nearly 10 years in Argentina following World War II, while Pope Francis was a teenager and young adult.


Catholic News Agency


Image: BBC

News category: World.

4 Responses to New book says Pope Francis acted like a secret agent

  1. Lynne Newington says:

    Well the photograph looks intriquing enough to compliment the article, but that's about as far as it goes.
    Pondering on miscellaneous hype of all these books on Francis, I was wondering what was to be the next revelation, and this takes the cake.

    With all the Jesuitical propensities and loyalties to the pope, John Paul reconised him as a man after his own heart, rewarding him by elevating him to a prince of the church.

    Nothing to do with Osacr Schindler the opportunist and smart businessman keeping a list of the the Jews he saved, later named Righteous Among Nations. Then maybe these are the similiarities being sought, as with John XX111.

  2. Lynne Newington says:

    It's quite remarkable that Jorge Bergoglio is now being picture as a 'good secret agent", with shades of Oscar Schindler coming into the picture considering the German Nazis were supported by the Vatican to escape to Argentina to avoid persecution.

    Being reared during the period and the formation of religious life, there would be no mistake as he made his way up the ecclesiastical ladder, in concluding it would have been a known fact of the church's role in giving Catholic SS personnel a safe haven, with albeit with dwindelling numbers, still alive today.
    Another media beat up.

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