Bergoglio a humble man with controversial past

Pope Francis is being painted as a humble and simple man, but CNN reports, his past is tinged with controversy.

Questions linger about Bergoglio’s actions during the nation’s dark days: the so-called Dirty War, when Argentina was ruled by dictators.

Possibly the darkest period during Bergoglio’s rise to power took place when he served as the nation’s top Jesuit.

In 1976, during Argentina’s dictatorship, the navy kidnapped priests Orlando Yorio and Francisco Jalics. Some have accused Bergoglio, then provincial superior for the Society of Jesus, of not doing enough to assert his influence and free them. They were found five months later.

The incident led to rumors and allegations that Bergoglio was complicit in the dictatorship’s appalling atrocity — that he didn’t do enough to expose it and perhaps was even partly responsible for the priests’ prolonged detention, said Jim Nicholson, a former U.S. ambassador to the Holy See.

Although the allegations against Bergoglio have never been proved, they continue to haunt him, so much so that the human rights group Center for Legal and Social Studies in Argentina opposes Bergoglio’s selection as pope.

Situations relating to the priests’ kidnappings “have not been clarified,” said the group’s director, Gaston Chillier.

Many of the allegations against Bergoglio were researched by Argentine journalist Horacio Verbitsky, (an investigative journalist with a past history as a leftist guerrilla,) who wrote a book about the church’s role during the dictatorship.

In a 2010 column, Verbitsky alleged that Bergoglio had lied under oath during an investigation into the theft of babies from prisoners during the dictatorship.

Bergoglio testified that he never knew about the baby-stealing until after the dictatorship had fallen, Verbitsky wrote, but a victim Verbitsky interviewed claims that Bergoglio knew about it at the time. She said she had written to Francis about it.

Nicholson said there is no evidence to support the allegations. Continue reading

Image: The Telegraph

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