Nobel laureate refutes allegations against Pope Francis

An Argentine pacifist who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1980 has come to the defence of Pope Francis’s actions between 1976 and 1983, when the military ruled the nation.

Adolfo Perez Esquivel said Pope Francis preferred to carry out a “silent diplomacy” in helping victims, rather than leading a more public outcry during Argentina’s “dirty war”.

“The Pope had nothing to do with the dictatorship … he was not an accomplice,” said the Nobel Peace Prize laureate said.

Perez, 81, spoke to journalists after a private meeting with Pope Francis on March 21. He said he and the Pope spoke about the so-called “dirty war” period “in general terms” during their 30-minute encounter.

During the “dirty war”, as many as 30,000 Argentines were kidnapped, tortured, murdered or disappeared, never to be seen again.

Perez won the Peace Prize for his work on human rights during the 1976-1983 dictatorship.

He said leaders and members of the Catholic Church reacted and behaved differently during the period as regards to either collaborating or resisting the regime.

“There were bishops who were accomplices with the dictatorship, but not Bergoglio,” he said.

Meanwhile, one of the two Jesuits who were kidnapped and held for five months by Argentina’s military regime has issued a new statement making it clear that he does not believe the future Pope Francis was responsible for his incarceration.

“The fact is: Orlando Yorio and I were not denounced by Father Bergoglio,” said Father Francisco Jalics, who now lives in a Grmany monastery.

At the time of the kidnapping, then-Father Bergoglio was the Jesuit provincial in Argentina.

Father Jalics admits that after their release, he and Father Yorio suspected that they had been denounced. But as he learned more about Father Bergoglio’s efforts to secure their freedom, he said, “it became clear to me that this suspicion was unfounded”.


Catholic News Service

The Guardian

Image: Yahoo! News

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