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Pope Francis delivers his homily as he celebrates Mass with cardinal electors in the Sistine Chapel at the Vatican March 14, the day after his election. (CNS photo/L'Osservatore Romano)

Today the Vatican released a statement in response to accusations that as archbishop of Buenos Aires, Jorge Mario Bergoglio, now Pope Francis, was complicit in various human-rights abuses during Argentina’s “Dirty War,” 1976-1983.

The full statement, read at a press conference by Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi, is below:

“The campaign against Bergoglio is well-known and dates back to many years ago. It has been carried out by a publication specializing in sometimes slanderous and defamatory campaigns. The anticlerical cast of this campaign and of other accusations against Bergoglio is well-known and obvious.”

“The charges refer to the time before Bergoglio became bishop [of Buenos Aires], when he was Provincial Superior of the Jesuits in Argentina and accuse him of not having protected two priests who were kidnapped.”

“This was never a concrete or credible accusation in his regard. He was questioned by an Argentinian court as someone aware of the situation but never as a defendant. He has, in documented form, denied any accusations.”

“Instead, there have been many declarations demonstrating how much Bergoglio did to protect many persons at the time of the military dictatorship. Bergoglio's role, once he became bishop, in promoting a request for forgiveness of the Church in Argentina for not having done enough at the time of the dictatorship is also well-known.”

“The accusations pertain to a use of historical-sociological analysis of the dictatorship period made years ago by left-wing anticlerical elements to attack the Church. They must be firmly rejected.”

“Regarding “Liberation Theology”: Bergoglio has always referred to the Instructions of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. He has always rejected violence saying that its price is always paid by the weakest.”

 

 
About the Author
Catherine Harmon catherine.harmon@catholicworldreport.com

Catherine Harmon is managing editor of Catholic World Report.
 
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