a decent story from NPR:
Pope Francis Criticized For Not Confronting Dictatorship During 'Dirty War’
AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
And I’m Audie Cornish.
Argentina’s Dirty War in the late 1970s and early 1980s was a dark time for both the country and the Roman Catholic Church. Thousands were kidnapped or killed by the military junta in a campaign to crush leftist opposition to the government.
Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, now Pope Francis, lived in Buenos Aires then but never publicly confronted the dictatorship during its reign, and since kept relatively quiet on the subject. Some human rights activists argue that his silence hurt investigations in the Dirty War’s aftermath, while other accounts reveal that the Pope took major risks to save the persecuted.
For more now, we turn to Michael Warren, Buenos Aires bureau chief of the Associated Press. Michael, welcome to the program.
CORNISH: Michael Warren, these allegations have been floating around obviously for many years. Are they truly resurfacing now? Is this something that is becoming an issue in Argentina?
WARREN: I have not seen anything new surface in these weeks, it’s important to say. And it’s also really important to say, I tried to make this come out in my story, that this needs to be seen in context and with nuance. Because based on the evidence against Bergoglio, if he’s guilty, well, then much of a generation of Argentines are guilty. Because what he’s being accused of is not doing enough to confront a murderous dictatorship. There were other priests who did and were killed. And there are other priests who committed torture and are serving life sentences.
So, Bergoglio is neither of those things. He was a church leader at the time and he’s now, and has been, the leader of the Argentine church for more than a decade. As such, he has taken on, politically, a lot of battles against this current government that is very tightly in league with leading human rights activists. Those human rights activists are against Bergoglio.
But there are other human rights activists who say this is really not fair. And among them is Nobel Prize winner Adolfo Perez Esquivel. He won the Nobel Peace Prize for his Argentine human rights work. And he said Bergoglio was no accomplice of the dictatorship. He cannot be accused of that.
Also see Ed Peters blog In the Light of the Law where he discusses accusations of NSO (Not Speaking Out) which can, of course, be leveled at anyone. If evidence emerged that one did speak out, then one didn’t speak out enough or effectively enough.
Of course, the critics have never lived under a regime where journalists disappear never to be seen again. I hope they never do tho’ the experience might be instructive.