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Intro: "While much of Argentina celebrates the election of their countryman Jorge Mario Bergoglio as pope, others accuse him of having played a dubious role in Argentina's military dictatorship."

Pope Francis celebrates his inaugural Mass with cardinals inside the Sistine Chapel, 03/14/13. (photo: CTV/AP)
Pope Francis celebrates his inaugural Mass with cardinals inside the Sistine Chapel, 03/14/13. (photo: CTV/AP)

The Pope and Argentina's Dictatorship

By Annette Langer, Spiegel Online

17 March 13


While much of Argentina celebrates the election of their countryman Jorge Mario Bergoglio as pope, others accuse him of having played a dubious role in Argentina's military dictatorship. There are prominent voices on both sides of the debate.

peechlessness was followed by cheers of joy. With a simple "buonasera," the newly elected Pope Francis greeted the faithful in Rome and cracked a joke about coming from the "ends of the earth." It was a rhetorical slam dunk met with jubilation by the audience. There was a similar celebratory atmosphere in his homeland of Argentina. Though not everyone was cheering.

"I can't believe it. I'm so distressed and full of anger that I don't know what to do," wrote the sister of deceased priest and torture victim Orlando Yorio in an e-mail to the journalist Horacio Berbitsky. "Now he's achieved what he wanted."

"He," for Graciela Yorio, refers to a power-hungry man who betrayed her brother and the Hungarian Jesuit Franz Jalics to Argentina's mililtary dictatorshop. A man who did nothing to stop the two faithful from being locked up in prison for five months and tortured. "He" is Pope Francis, then still known as Jorge Mario Bergoglio, provincial of the Argentine Jesuits.

The two liberation theologists were kidnapped on May 23, 1976 in a slum where they were doing ministry and social work. "Many people politically associated with the extreme right viewed our presence in the poor districts with suspicion," recalled Jalics later in his writings. "They interprested the fact that we lived there as support of the guerrillas, and they denounced us as terrorists."

The regime's henchmen brought the two Jesuits to the Escuela de Mecánica de la Armada (ESMA), a detention center notorious for torture. After five months they were thrown out onto a field half-naked and pumped full of drugs. The priests complained of Bergoglio to Superior General Pedro Arrupe in Rome. But they had already been expelled from the Jesuit order, allegedly due to contact with woman and "conflicts of obedience."

Accusations of Complicity in Kidnapping

Argentine human rights lawyer Marcelo Parrilli brought Bergoglio's case to the authorities, accusing him of implication in the kidnapping. That was in April 2005, shortly before the conclave that eventually chose Joseph Ratzinger to become Pope Benedict XVI. Bergoglio reportedly got the second most votes, but stepped aside in deference to Ratzinger.

A Jesuit spokesman called Parrilli's legal complaint slander. Bergoglio twice used his right to refuse to give evidence in court. When he testified in 2010, his comments were "evasive," according to human rights lawyer Myriam Bregman. In 2012, Argentine bishops collectively apologized for the mistakes of the church in the country's "Dirty War" in the 1970s and early 80s -- more than 30 years after the fact.

After their detainment, Yorio and Jalics were offered reinstatement into the Jesuit order. Jalics accepted, but Yorio did not.

Yorio never fully recovered from the traumatic experiences in prison. He died in 2000 in Uruguay. Franz Jalics survived the difficult times of torture with the help of meditation and constant prayer. He traveled to Germany in 1978, and later wrote a book about spiritual retreats. He declined to comment on the matter. "But he's at peace with Bergoglio," said Jesuit spokesman Thomas Busch. "A few years ago, Father Jalics traveled to Buenos Aires on the invitation of the archbishop, and they talked together." Nothing is known of their conversation.

A book Jalics wrote in 1995 tells a different story. He says prior to the kidnapping, he described his precarious situation to a superior, warning "that he's toying with our lives." He says the "man" promised to explain to the military that they weren't terrorists. However dozens of documents and statements of witnesses purportedly show that instead of defending the two priests, the same "man" only futher incriminated them. Yorio had related a similar story at the end of the 1970s. At the time, the "man" had a name: Bergoglio.

Some See Bergoglio as Saint, Others Fear Him

On Thursday, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Adolfo Pérez Esquivel defended the pope on BBC Mundo. "Bergoglio was not an accomplice to the dictatorship," he said. He did not, however, deny that the Church remained silent during the dictatorship and that "there were many bishops who were passive." Argentina's last military dictatorship before democracy governed from 1976 to 1983, waging a bloody war against its opponents. Estimates say the number of "desaparecidos," people who were disappeared during that time, is around 30,000. They were kidnapped, tortured and murdered.

Argentine investigative journalist Horacio Verbitsky, nickname "the dog," has written numerous essays and books about the important relationship between the Roman Catholic Church and the military dictatorship. He published an interview with Yorio's siblings Graciela and Rodolfo in 2010.

According to that interview, Bergoglio said in a personal conversation that he relied completely on the military secret service to find a clarification of the problem and that they would be responsible for conducting interrogations of the prisoners. Bergoglio was said to have important ties to the authorities. He allegedly met with Admiral Emilio Massera, one of the leaders of the military junta. Bergoglio said he did so to advocate on behalf of the two Jesuit brothers. He said he had nothing to hide.

"I know people he helped," said Yorio's brother Rodolfo. "That's exactly what reveals his two faces, and his closeness to the military powers. He was a master at ambiguity." And he levels a bitter accusation: "When the army killed someone, (Bergoglio) was rid of him, when they saved someone, it was he who had saved them." That's why there are people who see him as a saint, Rodolfo said. "And why there are others who fear him." your social media marketing partner


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+86 # James38 2013-03-17 08:54
Fancy crosses, fancy robes, fancy hats, nonsense ideas about "reality", belief in crazy ideas with no proof, Living in Palaces that their favorite hero Jesus would disdain....

The Catholic Church is a relic of the age of primitive myths. It is a business and a repository of goofy ideas supported by centuries of social programming.

It appears that the business aspect of the church has made it inevitable that it would not deal honestly with dictators. The Pope is infallibly chosen from part of the power structure of the Church. They are all corrupt except for a few social reformers, and they are a small minority who receive no serious support or money from the High Bureaucracy.

Organized religion is a farce and a fraud.
-43 # Mannstein 2013-03-17 10:16
The Catholic Church has lasted 2000 years in spite of the fact that worldly powers have done everything to destroy it starting in Jerusalem, then ancient Rome to the present modern day Communism. Godless Communism lasted 75 years and promised a workers paradise on earth only to be relegated to the dustbin of history. Praised be to God we are rid of that stinking ideology. Christ promised his followers that "the gates of Hell shall not prevail against" His Church. So far He has kept His promise much to your chagrin.
+29 # CAMUS1111 2013-03-17 11:50
Sure. Jesus was not a catholic; he was a jew and died a jew. Jesus did not found the catholic church nor did he found christianity--a rguably Paul(the greatest PR man of all time did).
+9 # jsheats 2013-03-17 20:21
Totally agree with you! Not much to add to that succinct statement.
+6 # James38 2013-03-17 22:24
Well, Jesus was one of several "god-men" who were featured in several very similar sets of legends from roughly the same period, covering the area from India to the Mideast.

It is popular because of the success of the "christian" sect to speak as if the existence of Jesus is established fact. However, a closer look makes the "facts" seem rather fluid and dubious.

Aside from that, the legends surrounding Jesus are fairly clear in that he was not a Catholic, since Catholicism didn't even exist at the time Jesus was supposedly around.
-1 # karenvista 2013-03-20 18:17
Quoting James38:
Well, Jesus was one of several "god-men" who were featured in several very similar sets of legends from roughly the same period, covering the area from India to the Mideast.

The "virgin birth" of Horus to Isis and Osirus along with many of the same dates and myths were already worshipped prior to 2400BC by the Egyptians and many of the other "god-men" with the same stories also occurred long before the christians adapted those stories to Jesus, Mary and Joseph.

The similarities of the myths and astrological timing of professed events are really profound.
+17 # dandevries 2013-03-17 12:52
The Catholic Church IS a worldly power! C'mon . . .
+45 # womyn 2013-03-17 10:41
Bravo! Great points noted! Organized religion is a farce and a fraud!
I left the Roman Catholic Church in 1964 and never regretted it. Since then, my decision to leave the arrogant anti-woman patriarchal Catholic Church is continually validated.
-9 # charsjcca 2013-03-17 12:24
Choir robes and stained glass windows abound. I embrace the Saint Francis of Assisi Prayer because the embrace frees me of guilt and shame. That allows me to embrace another human being without feeling that I must be perfect to do so.

So, I am all in with Pope Francis 1. He could have chosen AL Capone 1 or Tricky Dick 1 but did otherwise.

If you are not familiar with the Saint Francis of Assisi Prayer I encourage you to find it and study it. It is studies by members of the Fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous in some 183 nations worldwide. The International Family will gather in Atlanta July 4th 2015. I would suggest that you be with us in the spirit, if not in the flesh. Pope Francis 1 is in the flesh.
+1 # GrumpyGranny 2013-03-17 22:48
Distinctive dress and objects used in the Church help us identify the roles and responsibilitie s of priests, sisters and others. Your version of reality evidently isn't ours, but that doesn't mean that ours are not worthy and true. Faith is belief in things unseen but real. The successors of the first Pope, Peter, live at Vatican City because we like knowing where he is and it's practical. The Curia, however, has gotten overgrown and needs to be pruned.

The Church is not a relic, but has always been a reflection of the culture and history in which it finds itself. Nor is it a reflection or perpetuation of primitive myths. It has business aspects as it provides services to its members and outreach to others. Social programming? I don't think so. Passing on of the repository of faith to our children? Yes.

The Pope is chosen by Cardinals prayerfully voting in good faith for the person they think can best lead the Church into the future, in this case, Francis I. As Catholics we will pray for him, that he will stay true to his role and the tradition of Peter
to listen to the word of God, to live and inspire us to know God more deeply, follow God more closely, and do His will to heal and save all in the world that we can.

Organized religion is neither a farce nor a fraud, but the attempt of people of good will to try to understand their role in the world and to share and celebrate their faith with each other and their brothers and sisters in the world.
+6 # James38 2013-03-18 00:32
Dear Granny, you have been rather charmingly programmed. God? Well, that is a popular myth, but none of the many, many gods invented by various cultures has bothered to make anything very clear to anybody. This certainly gives free reign to the "Priests" who tell us what their version of God wants us to do, usually including handing over some money, and in the really disgusting religions (most of them from one time to another), going off to kill people - as evidenced by the recent crop of suicide bombers.

None of this nonsense would be possible without "faith" and "belief", which are instilled by loads of social programming. This should be obvious if you think about it a little. Where else would it come from? Dreamed up by generations of clever Priests, just lusting for ways to keep the Faithful coughing up the dinars, drachmas, and dollars, whanging away on church buildings, and joining the latest brigade of "faith enforcement" troops.

Somewhere in there, the well-intentione d ones manage to fit in some more idealistic concepts, but unfortunately they are always in the minority in most religions.

I do remember with fondness a minister, Reverend Damron, from Lemon Grove California back in the early 1950's. He was a Congregationali st (I think) and was a thoroughly honorable man. He encouraged us to think, and was unfazed when we questioned the idea of the existence of God. Most of us wound up being Agnostic. Quite a youth group, an honor to know him.
+33 # goodsensecynic 2013-03-17 09:53
Basically, James38 is right on all points ... but it's not that simple.

Roman Catholics, like other Christians, Muslims and Jews, are part of the larger Abrahamic tradition - known largely for its fierce "sibling rivalries."

Its origins are indeed the stuff of antique muths, impressed over millennia by rigid hierarchical authorities who stress eternal punishment for offending its fluctuating moral code, and (something James 38 didn't mention) a tendency to support and be supported by corrupt and often military dictatorships.

The status of women is only one of the hateful ("full of hate") social values that the Church promotes.

BUT, there are also people such as Sister Simone Campbell in the USA, the "Liberation Theologists" in Latin America and untold numbers of authentically humble nuns, priests (ministers, rabbis and imams) who offer solace and spiritual relief to their flocks. And, let's remember, there was also Pope John XXIII who, for a brief moment, held out the possibility of reform.

Now, I would be happy to see the billions of people in "organized" religions become more rational and enlightened in the manner of "secular humanism." At the same time, I know that they will not cast off the chains of religious opiates in the near or distant future.

So, while railing against farce and fraud may be emotionally satisfying, engagement and support for Catholic (and other) progressives might be more useful.
+13 # universlman 2013-03-17 11:24
Quoting goodsensecynic:
railing against farce and fraud may be emotionally satisfying

Dear cynic, this article is not about farce and fraud, it is about raw brutality. The pussy-footing that you are fond of has been Church policy for decades. This slow walking has crippled the Catholic Church from having a meaningful voice to even many of its faithful adherents. This is why many people are upset that through the choice of Bergoglio as Pope, in spite of all of the terrible recent history, the Church may not yet "Get It."
+6 # James38 2013-03-17 14:50
But Cynic, I did mention it - "...the business aspect of the church has made it inevitable that it would not deal honestly with dictators", but you did make it more clear.

I take some hope from the fact that comments such as ours receive more plus votes by far than the bleating of the "programmados" - the purblind followers and believers. Even in the more public forums on Yahoo etc I find that clear statements about the absurd and destructive aspects of religions are getting much more positive response than would have been the case a few years ago.

People are waking up, and the internet is a big force in equalizing the availability of new thought and information.

The only positive aspect of religions is giving a focal point for people to organize to help others and to share positive community values. I encourage progressives to set up groups independent of religions, because useful, logical morality and the satisfaction of developing an inclusive and compassionate society not only do not depend on or come from religion, they are frequently developed in spite of religion. Has there actually been a significant war where both sides didn't have "God on their side"?
-8 # Douglas Jack 2013-03-17 19:03
James, RE: "to organize to help others & share positive community values." Institutional 'religion' (Latin 'religio' = 'to-relate') doesn't aid community but derogates our capacity to help each other. The problem of the left is relying on big government to operate institutions for the young, the old, those with differences, sick & injured, ultimately everyone for their weaknesses. As I've worked in these institutions where staff on shift work have no idea who they are with in any positive sense of strengths.

Everyone has strengths as well as weakness. 'Community' (Latin 'com' = 'together' + 'munus' = 'gift or service') is ultimately based in the complementary strengths of each person & the joy of being recognized. Cultural giving happens in proximity, not in detached isolated 'nuclear' homes, but in multihomes where female-male & inter-generatio nal interaction can easily occur. 70% of present populations live in village, apartment & townhouse dwelling complexes where we have privacy but as well the opportunity to interact.

Humanity's 'indigenous' (L 'self-generatin g') heritage is based in multihome planning where common area spaces were multi-functiona l places of meeting, interacting, planning, child-elder-dif ferentially abled interaction, laughter, complementation & rendezvous of love. Multihome is the 1st practice of the Great Law of Peace.
+2 # James38 2013-03-18 00:58
Well, Douglas, you have some interesting bees buzzing around in your bonnet, many of which seem to make sense one way or another. However your first sentence is perhaps the most oddly self-contradict ory statement I have seen for a long time.

Also, your idea about the left and big government is totally strange. Big government works fairly well when universal health programs and Social Security are well organized and perpetuated. But we are having a big problem lately with the Norquislings doing their level best to destroy the level playing field. Those anti-social fruitcakes are, however, on the Right, although admittedly the very far far right, way out in left field somewhere beyond the event horizon. The "event" being anything that makes sense.

(But I really don't understand how you jumped from my idea to a problem with Big Government.) (Have you been studying the labels on Dr Bronner products, by any chance? Oh, perhaps you write them? Most of them are very good products.)
+7 # RobertMStahl 2013-03-17 09:55
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin died on Easter Sunday, 4/10/1955. Probably, he was the last of the great masters of a very valuable history prior to his death. Who knows what that was for today? Snuff film makers in the casinos on the African shores are what has become of all this history
+6 # goodsensecynic 2013-03-17 11:02
I don't quite understand you, but I think I agree with you ... maybe.

I, too, have a soft spot for Teilard de Chardin ... despite his embarrassment by being hoaxed by the Piltdown Conspiracy (I like to think he wasn't an actual perpetrator).
-23 # Mannstein 2013-03-17 10:05
Didn't the left and certain Jewish organizations smear Pius XII for not saving the Jews in WWII even though he did more than any Western statesman except perhaps Franco of Spain in this regard. Deja vue. The same Der Spiegel scribblers fell all over themselves in the 1960's heaping praise on German playright Hochhut when he came out with his play "The Deputy".
+19 # MidwestDick 2013-03-17 10:43
Eager to maintain the status of the church as a tax subsidized state religion, Pius 12 definitely played nice with Hitler and Hitler reciprocated. That is a fact.
Mussolini's government granted the Vatican independent nationhood. Was there a quid pro quo? Maybe Pius offered pie in the sky when you die to Mussolini. It works with many of the faithful. Why not Benito?
+17 # goodsensecynic 2013-03-17 11:00
Yup! Blame the left and the Jews. And, of course, all praise for darling General Franco!

Whether the apologists for Pope Pius XII or those who were more impressed by Rolf Hochhuth play have a better claim on the truth is not something I can address personally. The evidence either way is contestable and the matter may never be resolved to everyone's satisfaction.

The claim against Pius XII is not that he didn't save the Jews, but that he didn't object to the Nazi regime and its manifold inhumanity.

Surely the claim that "we didn't know" is no longer acceptable. At least we can demand of "humble" people aspiring to positions of authority that, from now on, they keep their eyes open. And, if I could see what was happening in Argentina from a distance of about 5600 miles and with no facility in Spanish, surely Francis I should have been more aware.

But, like the Germans of whom Pastor Niemoller complained, he said nothing openly, publicly and is therefore properly suspected of at least engaging in a conspiracy of silence.
+21 # goodsensecynic 2013-03-17 10:12
As for Francis I's complicity in the torture and murder of Argentinians during the "dirty war," it seems that the current Pope may not be all that far from Pope Pius XII. Whether either man kept public silence while working behind the scenes to rescue victims of a brutal dictatorship is an historical question not likely to be resolved to everyone's satisfaction. I have an opinion, but so does everyone else and conclusive proof seems to be lacking.

At the same time, the ease with which the Church has accommodated itself to vicious secular authorities (claiming themselves to be Christians and especially anti-communists ) has been a common theme from Franco's Spain to Pinochet's Chile.

As conservative icon Edmund Burke so nicely put it, all that is needed for evil to succeed is for good men to do (or appear to do) nothing. A church genuinely interested in human dignity and social justice would not have allied itself with Franco or encouraged Pinochet.

How culpable was Francis I in the specific events in Argentina, especially concerning Yorio and Jolics? I don't know, but I do believe they deserved better as did the thousands who "disappeared."

Spiritual salvation is all very well for those who need or desire it. Silence in the face of slaughter is not.
-4 # charsjcca 2013-03-17 10:22
Can we carry on? I do not think less of Martin Luther King, Jr., for prolonging the situation of social segregation in America because he did not set himself on fire in the Alabama State Capitol in Montgomery to assert his compassion. The strategy he chose is not my call. You are asking far too much of Francis 1. He is with us in the flesh and not a blazing memory. I am all in with him as he journey's through life. The test will be whether he can live up to what the Saint Francis of Assisi Prayer emotes. The notion of living without guilt and shame, but taking action on those issues that are in front of us is the challenge.

So, leave history to be written by historians. After all, it will be his story, not mine. May our Great Creator bless Francis 1.
0 # cwbystache 2013-03-17 10:35
He only has two faces? I wish I had that few.
+18 # BobbyLip 2013-03-17 10:51
When the poor have not merely received more charity, but when there has been an actual redistribution of wealth and power, then and only then will I believe that this pope--any pope--is committed to the poor and that the priorities of the church have changed. It takes more than charm, pretty talk, and riding the tram to the office.
+14 # cwbystache 2013-03-17 20:22
I have for many years loved the statement by Archbishop Helder Camara of Brazil:

"When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why they are poor, they call me a communist."
+16 # Manacha 2013-03-17 10:52
The article is very correct in its contents. Pope Francis is a master of ambiguity and double speak; perhaps also a coward. Now, the Vatican is holding an incredible propaganda push to present this Pope as a second St. Francis of Assisi, which could not be further from the truth. Being "austere" must be fashionable now given the propaganda to that effect. But I am being naive, what can one expect of a great corporation as the RCC? Its main leader has to be the most consummate corporate man, pushed to the public as a new, better, necessary product we all must have.
+16 # tswhiskers 2013-03-17 10:55
It doesn't require a deep knowledge of Western European history to know that the Vatican (not to be confused with the Church made up of millions of honest believers) is and has been a corrupt institution for the vast majority of its history. The fact that an Argentinian cardinal seems to have a few skeletons in his closet should not be surprising. As anyone who has tried to "get ahead" surely knows, regardless of the institution, there are usually some backroom deals, and backstabbing involved in rising to the top. It has not been a secret either that the Vatican has been hand-in-glove with South American dictatorships. The mistake I think most people make re the Catholic Church is in forgetting that it is just another man-made institution in most regards, very human and prone to the same weaknesses of secular institutions. It uses its reputation as Peter's Church, the One True Church, etc. as a of cover of sanctity that given its colorful history, it often does not deserve.
+2 # James38 2013-03-17 15:59
tswhiskers - "...the Church made up of millions of honest believers"? Honest?

Make that "millions of deluded followers" or "millions of pawns". Belief in any idea without proof is the basic flaw of religion, the concept that glaringly reveals them as corrupt and fraudulent.

One often hears someone saying "I am a believer" as if that should automatically trigger respect and even awe on the part of the listener or society. Nothing could be further from the truth. Admitting that one is a "believer" should automatically indicate that the person is a gullible fool with no way to pretend to having responsibility for his/her actions. A "believer" has abdicated personal responsibility, and in the worst case scenario, becomes a tool of violent leaders.

The progression is as follows: Be programmed to "believe" in God. Then accept the idea that certain "special people" (Pope, Minister, Imam, whatever) get "messages from God" that the rest of us can't hear. Then the "special person" can tell you "God wants you to strap on this nice bomb and go blow yourself up and kill a bunch of people (men, women, children) you don't even know. You will get your reward in heaven."

This is why we have suicide bombers.

Having faith and belief in any idea with no proof is the dumbest and most dangerous thing a person can do. Among other things, it puts an effective end to openly exploring reality.

Programming children to "believe" is severe child abuse.
0 # GrumpyGranny 2013-03-17 23:14
To raise a child in the Catholic Church is to raise him/her to know that God loves him as a father/brother. To baptize a child is to secure for him the grace to live a good life and a place in the community of believers who will help him and support him as he grows.

Catholics do not have suicide bombers.

Please don't insult me and others like me by assuming you know the content of our character or can pass judgement as to whether one is a "gullible fool".

Catholics do not abdicate personal responsibility. We assume responsibility for our actions by our free will to choose to follow right behavior or not. All actions have consequences, intended and unintended.

We do explore reality as we interact with others of all faiths available to us, ethnic groups, genders. We raise thinking beings and prepare them to answer errors and accusations like yours with love and wisdom.

Go in peace...inquire ...and learn as Paul did.
+2 # James38 2013-03-19 08:06
Grumpy, your argument in favor of the Catholic Church omits a few things. Your statement "To raise a child in the Catholic Church is to raise him/her to know that God loves him as a father/brother" suffers from the most glaring and basic flaw of religion. You expect us to accept without question that "God" exists. There is no proof of that, certainly you offer none, and accepting such an idea without proof is the very definition of "gullible fool".

Furthermore, raising a child to "believe" such barking nonsense (your church supplies lots more) is a severe form of child abuse, causing the atrophy of the most important human potential, that of critical thought. You, Grumpy, are a perfect example of a child raised in that way, since your fervently uncritical acceptance of Catholic Dogma shows that your critical facilities have been left totally undeveloped and buried.

The Catholic Church has matured somewhat over the past few centuries. You no longer torture or kill people for disobedience or lack of faith. However your slavish obedience to the necessities of protecting the wealth of the organization has left you in a moral dilemma that you have solved by having no morals. Perhaps the church can progress further toward some form of sanity, but electing an apologist to the dictators of Argentina is not showing much progress.

You see, I have gone in peace, inquired, and learned. Deep programming is hard to discard, but I have begun to think clearly.
-1 # James38 2013-03-18 05:27
AND, if the "Faithful Followers" wake up and depart the churches in droves, the evil done by churches will vanish.
0 # James38 2013-03-19 06:27
The good work of religious missionaries has usually been accompanied by the damage done by the religious indoctrination they have provided, and often forced upon, the people they are "helping".

This is continuing apace in Africa as various "christian" missionaries" continue to support crackpot and cruel regimes, notably the anti-homosexual ones, some of which are advocating death as a "punishment" for gay people.

This is done because the African countries offer unlimited scope for the homophobic prejudices of the "Christians".

There is no reason on Earth why people who want to go to other countries to help improve life there can not do so while respecting the customs of the natives, at least where those customs, while different, are entirely benign.

In numerous cases local wisdom and long standing societies have been trampled into oblivion by the introduction of a different mythology and set of moral imperatives. Also lost is the benefit to all that could be gained by respectful observation and learning.

Help without indoctrination and prejudice is help indeed. Anything else is a destructive and imperialistic invasion
+1 # cordleycoit 2013-03-17 11:04
Argentina can be replaced by the United State and the Pope with out President. There are people on the right ready and willing to eliminate the pesky left by dumping us out of their helicopters. This is the Tea Party fantasy.A full flat out market economy ruled from Chicago. They have the Left canceling the Bill of Rights setting up the Banana Republic and all they have to do is wait and take over.
+2 # Depressionborn 2013-03-17 12:36
Dear cordleycoit

Tell me sir. Are you cancelling the Bill of Rights. (Just curious)
+2 # James38 2013-03-17 15:42
Depression, Cordey refers to the "people on the right..." who would be glad to cancel the Bill of Rights, or at least make it not apply to anyone with progressive or liberal ideas.
+2 # Anarchist 23 2013-03-17 19:28
Depressionborn: They have canceled the Bill of rights: warrentless searches, indefinite detention without being charged of anything, anti-abortion laws straight from the Church and its beliefs....crue l and unusual punishment-i.e. solitary confinement in maximum security prisons and water-boarding. .yeah that seems destructive to our rights as stated in the constitution... did I mention assassination by drones without accusation or trial?
-2 # Douglas Jack 2013-03-17 11:20
'Religion' (Latin 'religio' ='to-relate') is perverted by resource appropriation to 'abstract' artificial institutional structures rather than directly to relations of 'community' (L 'com' = 'together' + 'munus' = 'gift or service') engagement. Rather than putting these resources into healthy ecological multihomes with common area meeting spaces as our indigenous ancestors, the bureaucrats of religions abscond resources for institutional glorification. Instead of living in love & sharing, religions pontificate about it. Religions serve colonial institutions & empire fed by misinformed dogma. Religions are well-intentione d but processes used, destroy caring relations.
Humanity's worldwide universal 'indigenous' (L 'self-generatin g') peoples understand the importance of building connected multihome dwellings (mound-cities, longhouse or pueblo multihome structures) similar to today's apartment & townhouse structures where women & men, young & old collaborate across generations, each with complementary talents & goods. Churches, Mosques, Synagogues & Temples tax popular mind & resources away from complementary relations.
Women recognized within Production Society accounting for their specific gifts to family & community brings female intelligence to economy & politics.
+2 # GrumpyGranny 2013-03-17 23:33
The Church in a country has dioceses composed of parishes with structures for building members up in faith, reaching out to other faiths and helping others of any faith as Jesus taught, "Whatever you do for the least of these, my brothers, you do for Me."

it is common practice for nonCatholics to come to the parish house to ask for help with bills, etc., in hard times. The bills are paid without fuss, requiring Church attendance, etc., as is common in some other faiths. Most parishes have a food pantry to help with food needs. Help is given with paperwork for jobs, public assistance, housing, etc.

One example of extraparish help is the ministry of the Felician Sisters of Coraopolis, PA who maintain a high school and a separate program for students in a nearby area of substandard housing. There is an after school program with time for help with schoolwork, snack, games, story time, etc., at no charge. There is a day program for mothers of pre school children and literacy/school help. There is a monthly community dinner and other such activities.

The program employs sisters, Rotary volunteers, and paid community members as well as high school and community students who come to help.

The Felician sisters' high school is a community of Catholic teachers, administration and students of many religions, including Muslim and Buddhist, ethnic heritages from Arab to African/America n, and students getting a second chance.

Hope this clarifies.
+1 # James38 2013-03-19 03:36
Grumpy, your description of the good works is refreshing. I hope more groups and Catholic communities will do such fine work.

Now if you can take the next step and do all that without "belief in God", the holy ghost, virgin birth, slamming people for using contraception or having abortions when such a difficult decision is necessary, and some of the other nonsense of the church, I will truly be impressed.

Groups of people helping one another is a good thing. Doing it in the name of some deity or other is just silly, and when the church uses its pet deity to dictate useless and destructive rules such as those against contraception and abortion, the whole exercise becomes weird and partly destructive.

Of course then you run into the problem of Priests going whacko because of suppressed sexuality, and molesting children. Maybe you can encourage the changes in the church that would allow priests to marry and have children, or be openly gay if that is what they are. By eliminating the nutty restrictions (and also allowing women to have an equal role in the church), maybe you can actually see the Catholic Church produce a miracle - sanity.
+14 # geraldom 2013-03-17 12:07
Whether or not the new Pope has a questionable past when he resided in Argentina when it was a dictatorship, I don't think that we will ever know because the powers to be will do everything in their power to either squash any real and free and open and independent and unbiased investigation into the matter, and/or they will make every attempt to hide the facts of the matter if they exist and if they prove damaging to the new pope.

In general, what I find so disappointing and so despairing about established religions, most especially the Christian religion, is that if they did their jobs in vehemently protesting and vehemently condemning illegal wars of aggression, especially by the United States, rather than either supporting them or just keeping quiet about them, we probably wouldn't be having illegal wars and war crimes and crimes against humanity perpetrated by countries who claim to be religious in nature and who claim to be primarily Christian nations like the United States.

I know that if Jesus was alive today, he would speak out vehemently against these illegal wars that commit genocide and murder innocent people and which leave nations in tatters.
+3 # Rehmat 2013-03-17 13:26
On March 13, Jewish groups in the US, Canada, Europe, and Latin America hailed the selection of Argentine Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio 76, as the new Pope Francis I as a “friend of Jews and Israel”.

Abraham Foxman, head of America’s powerful Israel lobby group, ADL, has congratulated Jorge Bergoglio on his election as head of the Vatican. Foxman recalled how Jorge Bergoglio as Archbishop of Buenos Aires had celebrated various Jewish holidays with the Argentinian Jewish community, including Chanukah where he lit a candle on the menorah, attended a Buenos Aires synagogue for Slichot, a pre-Rosh Hashana service, the Jewish New Year, as well as a commemoration of Kristallnacht.
0 # zornorff 2013-03-17 16:50
Why are we Jews so enthralled when someone of questionable backround dons a yarmulke? Reminds me of Ray Liotta in Goodfellas wearing a yarmulke and crushing the glass at his wedding.
0 # brux 2013-03-17 23:19
I doubt anyone is "so enthralled" but at a time when they appoint a new Pope people and nations try to put a positive spin on things. What do you think they should do, condemn him right out of the gate when they know it won't do any good and would antagonize him towards Jews.

The never-ending fault-finding with everything that happens that has any kind of Jewish or Israeli on RSN and many other discussion boards is really sickening. Criticize, complain, expose facts, yes, but most of what goes on here aimed against Israel and Jews is really sickening.
0 # karenvista 2013-03-20 19:32
It has been proven that he turned the two Jesuit priests, Yorio and Jalics, over to the junta to be tortured. Horacio Verbitsky documents it in his book "Silencio." The priests and their families have been interviewed about it and incriminating documents exist. It is beyond question.

Now, as to our Jewish friends above- How can you possibly say that everyone, especially you, after what your people went through, should just ignore human rights abuses and be quiet until everyone forgets about it. Is that really what you think should happen when people are unjustly imprisoned, tortured and murdered? Really?
+6 # hydroweb 2013-03-17 14:36
What other "religion" has anywhere near the riches, pomp, and circumstance of the RCC? Think about it for a minute. None come even close. And then to have the chutzpah to advocate for the poor, and call himself Francis?
+2 # brux 2013-03-17 23:22
Saudi Wahabism is certainly given them a run for their money, there are more Muslims and they have a lot of wealth. It's pretty pompous to have everyone in then world making a big show of facing their posteriors to West and praying 3 times a day, let alone fighting a Jihad against the whole rest of the world convert them to an very intolerant militaristic faith.
0 # karenvista 2013-03-20 19:41
Quoting brux:
Saudi Wahabism is certainly given them a run for their money, there are more Muslims and they have a lot of wealth. It's pretty pompous to have everyone in then world making a big show of facing their posteriors to West and praying 3 times a day, let alone fighting a Jihad against the whole rest of the world convert them to an very intolerant militaristic faith.

You are confusing the wealth of individuals and sheikdoms with the wealth of the organized religion, the Catholic Church.

There is no organization that holds a portion of the wealth of all members of Islam. There is no "Pope" of Islam just like there is no single "temple" of Hinduism or "Pope" of the Hindus.

You have a lot of learning to do about comparative religions but then, you are probably a christian so you already know everything.
0 # GrumpyGranny 2013-03-17 23:41
I beg to differ. We have always and everywhere advocated and served the poor. See remarks above. We are one of the oldest religions across the world, so it looks like we have more than we really do, we just preserve rather than replace.
+1 # James38 2013-03-19 20:47
Grumpy says "We have always and everywhere advocated and served the poor"

Well, no you have not. Back during the period when the Catholic Church was selling "Dispensations" and had so much political and social power that fear of the church was sufficiently rampant that the Church could get away with its massive programs of torture and death to infidels (Remember the Inquisition? A lovely part of your heritage?) The poor were regarded as a smelly but necessary, yet relatively small source of funds, and not much else.

The major sources of Church income and riches came from wielding power over society, selling the Dispensations, and taking all sorts of bribes, charging various types of taxes, and anything else the Popes could come up with. It was during that period that the Vatican was built, many huge cathedrals were erected, all to impress more forcefully on the masses that the Church was totally powerful and in charge. Opposition and contrary opinions were simply not tolerated. Ask Galileo and Copernicus, among others, just how loving and tolerant the Catholic Church was then.

"it looks like we have more than we really do"?? No, it does not. It looks very much like you have a lot, and it also looks like much of what you have is kept rather artfully hidden.

+1 # James38 2013-03-19 20:59
(continuing) Grumpy goes on to say:

"we just preserve rather than replace"

Wow, that amazing statement generates an amusing prospect - new Cathedral Models every year - (and what a way to help the working man.) Sorry, god, we will replace that dusty old Cathedral right away. Please don't get mad and trash another province in China with one of your nasty earthquakes, but we pray even more that you don't knock any of our own buildings down.

"We will continue to reach out to our brothers and sisters in the human family"

Well, I sincerely hope you do, and I equally hope you do a lot better job of it than you have in the past, especially since altogether too much of that previous reaching out has been in the direction of unwilling children. And even that would not be quite such a pressing issue if the Church had been willing to deal openly and honestly with the problem as soon as it occurred. But that appears to have been needed quite a long time ago, and this activity may have become part of entrenched church subculture back when Popes and Priests had lots of wives, concubines, and other intimate friends.
+3 # GrumpyGranny 2013-03-17 23:46
Ours is one of the oldest faiths in the world, spread across the world. We have accumulated rites and rituals, and objects of faith from rosaries to chalices. We preserve what has been built rather than move out and build new, except when we have to relocated due to more members, etc.

We have always and everywhere advocated for the poor in spirit, health, education, property and more importantly helped them to a better life, dried their tears when we coud, clothed and fed them in times of trouble and disaster.

We will continue to reach out to our brothers and sisters in the human family.
+1 # James38 2013-03-19 21:12
GrumpyGranny. Hm. It has occurred to me to think this may actually be the "nom de plume" of a professional Church Fireman, whose job it is to go out and quell any less than complementary comments about the Mother Church.

However, Grumpy, if you are truly just an average but rather literate member, you have been doing about as well as could be done trying to put some cast iron lipstick on the pig. If you are not a professional in the Hierarchical Fire Brigade, they should offer you a job.

You return to the "always and everywhere" meme. That rings rather hollow considering how much you ignore. Haiti comes to mind. If the Church were to really focus its resources and potential for good on that miserable place, much could be done. It is not being done.

I think you, as an obviously loyal, if somewhat deluded, member of the faithful, should focus your energy on getting the church to actually do what you say it is doing - and by that I do not mean to take away any genuine praise for the good works that actually manage to get done. (I do hope the work is truly done free of religious indoctrination. )
0 # karenvista 2013-03-20 20:12
Quoting GrumpyGranny:
Ours is one of the oldest faiths in the world, spread across the world. We have accumulated rites and rituals, and objects of faith from rosaries to chalices.... We have always and everywhere advocated for the poor in spirit, health, education, property and more importantly helped them to a better life, dried their tears when we coud, clothed and fed them in times of trouble and disaster.

We will continue to reach out to our brothers and sisters in the human family.

The Catholic church says that if you go to confession you will be forgiven, who do you confess to if you're the pope?

When you say that the church teaches you to take responsibility for your actions- how could you ever actually believe that when you know that all you have to do to duck responsibility is confess and then you can start all over again?

When the Catholic Church has traveled with the conquerors it has converted the locals at the point of a spear and stolen everything they had. When the "Indians" were converted to Catholicism in Latin America they were stripped of any wealth and became the slaves of the church and the Spaniards or Portuguese and were forced to work till they died.

Where do you think all the gold for your crosses and chalices came from?

Were the Crusades a high point for Christendom or just a few journeys for robbing and slaughtering the Muslims and Jews?

And compared to Hinduism, Christianity is recent.
+2 # sisterofearth 2013-03-17 21:33
To me it matters greatly that it is a woman - the amazing journalist, Annette Langer, - who has captured the tears and great lament of another incredibly courageous woman, Orlando Yorio's sister, Graciela Yorio.
0 # chizables 2013-03-18 09:12
I have read extensively about our new pope. As I Catholic, I find it encouraging and refreshing to have a pope who considers social justice a priority.

The pope did not have the power to overthrow the government in Argentina. Those were dangerous times, and he could have been imprisoned and/or tortured and/or killed had he publicly gone against such a murderous regime.

Yorio accused Bergoglio of handing them (he and the other Jesuit priest) over to the death squads by declining to tell the regime that he (Bergoglio) endorsed their work. How could this be if these two priests had recently been dismissed from the Jesuit Order by Bergoglio? Why should he (Bergoglio) endorse their work if they had been dismissed from the Jesuit Order?

Jalics has issued a statement saying the cause of his kidnapping was NOT Bergoglio but a former lay person collaborator who had left to become a guerrilla. This person was captured and named Yorio and Jalics when interrogated.

I guess people will believe what they want to believe. I just hope they will research thoroughly before making any rash judgements on our new pope.

I choose to believe we have a good and sincere man leading our church.
+1 # James38 2013-03-19 08:17
"I choose to believe we have a good and sincere man leading our church"...and keeping the fancy hats warm.

Can we please see one of those lovely paintings of "Jesus", the gorgeous bearded androgyne, with him wearing one of those amazing pointy priestly helmets, brandishing a huge ornate cross, and wearing the fancy robes? Maybe a purple one?

Oh, and of course, he needs to be standing in front of the Vatican, or better, on the balcony next to the new Pope.

I'll bet you can sell those by the thousands.
+2 # AUCHMANNOCH 2013-03-19 15:56
Two years ago my wife and I visited the Vatican and joined a line of people in a shuffling queue that seemed a couple of kilometres long as it wound its way to the Sistine chapel. We both commented that the wealth of paintings, statues, religious objects many in what appeared to be made of gold was beautiful but also obscene and should all be sold for the many millions they would fetch and the proceeds given to the poor. If the new Pope did that he would truly be acting like a real Francis.
0 # Okieangels 2013-03-20 09:18
Some of it is gold. There is also a lot of brass and gold plate.

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