A former Jesuit priest has denied that he and a colleague were imprisoned by Argentina’s military junta in 1976 after being denounced by the order’s then leader, Jorge Mario Bergoglio, who is now Pope Francis.
“I myself was once inclined to believe that we were the victims of a denunciation,” said Francisco Jalics, who now lives in a German monastery. But “at the end of the 90s, after numerous conversations, it became clear to me this suspicion was unfounded. It is therefore wrong to assert that our capture took place at the initiative of Fr Bergoglio.”
Since being chosen at the Vatican conclave last week, Pope Francis has been assailed by questions about his record during the 1976-83 military dictatorship. There is little doubt that the Church as a whole did little to confront the dictators or to condemn the “Dirty War” they were waging against their political detractors during which about 30,000 people were murdered or disappeared.
But particular focus had been given to claims that surfaced in one unauthorised biography that Fr Bergoglio essentially facilitated the kidnapping of Mr Jalics and another priest, Orlando Yorio.