Pope Francis and the long shadow of Argentina’s “Dirty War”

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Pictures and newspaper clips of desaparecidos (victims of forced disappearance) in a former illegal detention center in Rosario, Argentina. Photo by Pablo D. Flores / courtesy Wikimedia Commons (http://bit.ly/10TLahA)

Pictures and newspaper clips of desaparecidos (victims of forced disappearance) in a former illegal detention center in Rosario, Argentina. Photo by Pablo D. Flores / courtesy Wikimedia Commons (http://bit.ly/10TLahA)

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WASHINGTON (RNS) Just as life in communist Poland propelled Pope John Paul II's crusade against the Soviets and coming of age in Nazi Germany shaped Pope Benedict XVI, Argentina's Dirty War posed deep, existential questions for the future Pope Francis.

  • James Edward Kelley

    I doubt that Pope Francis or Pope John Paul II deliberately or intentionally supported the junta and allowed those two priests to be subjected to the tortures carried out by said because the two priests were in favor of Liberation Theology as Liberation Theology is a movement using Biblical and theological principles to oppose any form of oppression of any type of individual or group. The life, and I personally consider one’s life as one’s most important resume in determining one’s character, of Pope Francis has been dedicated to the impoverished and it was the junta which was oppressive to those impoverished people of Argentina. Pope John Paul II was not opposed, in reality, to Liberal Theology as much as a lot of Leftists like to think he was. People outside of the Catholic Church tend to think in turns of power and powerlessness and the gray in between the two extremes. In the Catholic Church, each individual male or female, Priest or Nun, has a job that is equal to all the other jobs. The Catholic Church takes very seriously the words of St. Paul where that describe each part of the body as being as important as each other and that when one part of the body is malfunctioning, the rest of the body malfuntions in one way or another. Can we say that St. Paul was a prophet of Holistic Medicine? Definitely. But, back to the point. Just because nuns are relegated mainly to prayer (but, remember that a lot of priests are relegated to prayer as well), they have chosen that path out of conviction of prayer’s power. Priests have done so as well throughout the ages, hence, we have monasteries and such. People outside of the Church only see what’s on the surface and that surface consists of those who preach, the Priests, Cardinals and Popes. People don’t realize that those who are behind the scenes, so to speak, are just as important within the Church and to the Church, itself and are seen as such by the Church. People may ask, but isn’t the Papacy, as the main leadership position within the Church, a power-position? No. The Papacy is, yes, the leadership position of the Church, but is it a power position? No. The Catholic Church does not work the way the rest of the world does because the Catholic Church has more important goals to satisfy than Earthly gain. The Mission Statement of the Church is not to become rich, not to make anyone else rich, not to become powerful, not to become famous, etc. and so forth. The Mission Statement of the Church is to lead people to live for that Kingdom which is Eternal, not Earthly. And in that Kingdom which is Eternal there is no man, no woman, no poor, no rich, no races, creeds, etc. as St. Paul once again writes better than I can. In that Kingdom that which is Eternal every entity is equal and therefore no strife is present, no abuse, everything is peace perpetual. Whenever a Pope has used his position as a position of power rather than peace (peace is always opposed to power), that is a representative of the alterior motive(s) of that Pope and not a representation of what the Church, itself, is about. Should women become Priests if they want? I don’t see why not. I am a devout Catholic and see no problem with this. There may be a reason why it is not happening of which I am not aware. In fact, I wrote to Pope John Paul II one time about this and received a letter back from a Monsignor that was quite honest and sincere which said the Pope was praying about it. I’m sure he was doing that at least. But to say that the Church oppresses women in toto is wrong as the roles of nuns in the church are deemed equal in importance to the roles priests play in the church. Another example of how Pope John Paul II was not really against Liberation Theology was that he, when a priest, or perhaps before then when he was an actor and a writer as well as a local environmentalist before environmentalism was even considered an eminent cause, he housed and protected all the Jewish men, women and children he could from being collected by the Nazi soldiers lurking around his neighboorhood at the time. In fact, one Nazi soldier actually knocked on the door of where Karol Wojtyla (sp?) (Pope John Paul II’s secular name) lived and housed some of the Jews he protected and asked him if he had any Jews in his house. Wojtyla (sp?) said no. According to God’s grace, Wojtyla (sp?) and his Jewish friends were spared. Normally the Nazi soldier would have barged into the house anyway and took away any Jew they found as well as the person(s) with them. Pope Francis’s “evasive” remarks about the junta affair seem only “evasive” to those who want to find any reason to lambast the Church, the Pope, himself, or those who were against the junta to begin with. Anyone else would call Pope’s Francis’s remarks “evasive” if they were not familiar with the one characteristic that has been consistent throughout his life and that is humility. Most humble people do not talk much about their actions on behalf of others, they just do them out of the love of their hearts. People against said humble individual would call any of their comments on what they have done “evasive” while others who are for said humble individual would say, and say truly, that there is proof enough in the pudding that the humble individual created and that anything that individual says about how he made it or what went into it is superfluous. And believe me, the pudding Pope Francis has created would rival any blancmange you would find in Paris.

  • Nonbloko

    On a matter of principle, I refuse to read long comments posted in the form of a single paragraph.

  • James Edward Kelley

    Hi, Nonbloko.

    Why do you find long posts in the form of one paragraph unprincipled, if that is indeed the thought behind your comment? If that is not, indeed, the thought behind your comment, then why don’t you have the courage to say straightforwardly, what it is instead of hiding behind a line that ultimately ends further discussion with you as having the last word even though you really hadn’t said anything substantial?

  • james czarkowski

    Love your editorial. Looking for some local Catholic Bible studies, it is sad to see Bingo, Rosary and things trump out professional Bible studies, had to rely on Seventh Day Adventist Church for Bible class. Tony Moore The Biblical World Press. But love your comments, slow on the computer keys.