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Don’t Applaud for Him, Argentina: Cardinal Bergoglio (Pope Francis) and the Dirty War

Pope Francis, formerly Cardinal Berdoglio

Dave Emory’s entire lifetime of work is available on a flash drive that can be obtained here.

COMMENT: With the selection of the first Pope from the Americas (Francis, formerly Cardinal Bergoglio), media outlets have indulged in the predictable hagiographies concerning his background.

Although he is from Argentina, his selection should not be viewed as a break from the past, but rather a continuation of the grim, pro-fascist politics of the Vatican.

The scandal-ridden Vatican Bank (The IOR) was a principal vehicle for the laundering of Nazi money, as we saw in, among other programs, FTR #532. Much of that financial diaspora involved the moving of monies to Argentina.

The Argentine/Vatican connection also figures prominently in the unsavory story of the ratlines, the Vatican networks which enabled Nazi war criminals to escape to Argentina (among other places). (For background on the ratlines, examine AFA #’s 17, 19 among other programs.)

To flesh out understanding of the significance of the Argentine/Nazi connection, we recommend a number of books available for download on this website, including Martin Bormann: Nazi in Exile, The Nazis Go Underground and Falange: The Secret Axis Army in the Americas.

Admiral Emilio Massera, member of the Argentine P-2 branch and collaborator of Cardinal Bergoglio

A key element of commonality between the fascist politics of the Vatican and those of Argentina concerns the P-2 Lodge, a crypto-fascist government that virtually ran Italy for years and was inextricably-linked with the Vatican Bank for much of that time. 

In addition to its Italian branch, the P-2 Lodge also had an important chapter in Argentina, with junta members Emilio Massera, Carlos Suarez Mason and Jorge Videla being members. It was this junta that prosecuted the Dirty War in the 1970’s and ’80’s, with which Cardinal Bergoglio was complicit. (For more about the P-2, including its Argentine branch, see AFA #’s 18, 19.)

Bergoglio collaborated with the Argentine P-2 perpetrators of the Dirty War. 

There is a long, fascinating, online excerpt from HoracioVerbitzky’s book in which he details the evolution of the Catholic fascist doctrine that manifested in the horrors of the Naval Mechanics School.

That evolution was part and parcel to what Henrik Kruger described as the International Fascista in THE GREAT HEROIN COUP. It is described at length in AFA #19.

Verbitzky makes serious charges against Bergoglio, accusing him of complicity in the dirty war.

Verbitzky relates that one of the priests arrested and tortured with the complicity of Bergoglio is of the opinion that Bergoglio may very well have assisted in his “interrogation”!

It would be foolish to expect meaningful reform from one with his background.

“Francis Is First Pope from the Americas” by Brian Murphy and Michael Warren [AP]; Yahoo News; 3/13/2013.

EXCERPT: . . . . Bergoglio also was accused of turning his back on a family that lost five relatives to state terror, including a young woman who was 5-months’ pregnant before she was kidnapped and killed in 1977. The De la Cuadra family appealed to the leader of the Jesuits in Rome, who urged Bergoglio to help them; Bergoglio then assigned a monsignor to the case. Months passed before the monsignor came back with a written note from a colonel: It revealed that the woman had given birth in captivity to a girl who was given to a family “too important” for the adoption to be reversed.

Despite this written evidence in a case he was personally involved with, Bergoglio testified in 2010 that he didn’t know about any stolen babies until well after the dictatorship was over.

“Bergoglio has a very cowardly attitude when it comes to something so terrible as the theft of babies. He says he didn’t know anything about it until 1985,” said the baby’s aunt, Estela de la Cuadra, whose mother Alicia co-founded the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo in 1977 in hopes of identifying these babies. “He doesn’t face this reality and it doesn’t bother him. The question is how to save his name, save himself. But he can’t keep these allegations from reaching the public. The people know how he is.” . . .

“Pope Francis’ Junta Past: Argentine Journalist on New Pontiff’s Ties to Abduction of Jesuit Priests”; Democracy Now; 3/14/2013.

EXCERPT:. . . .HORACIO VERBITSKY: Of course. He was accused by two Jesuit priests of having surrendered them to the military. They were a group of Jesuits that were under Bergoglio’s direction. He was the provincial superior of the order in Argentina, being very, very young. He was the younger provincial Jesuit in history; at 36 years, he was provincial. During a period of great political activity in the Jesuits’ company, he stimulated the social work of the Jesuits. But when the military coup overthrow the Isabel Perón government, he was in touch with the military that ousted this government and asked the Jesuits to stop their social work. And when they refused to do it, he stopped protecting them, and he let the military know that they were not more inside the protection of the Jesuits’ company, and they were kidnapped. And they accuse him for this deed. He denies this. . . .

. . . .  But during the research for one of my books, I found documents in the archive of the foreign relations minister in Argentina, which, from my understanding, gave an end to the debate and show the double standard that Bergoglio used. The first document is a note in which Bergoglio asked the ministry to—the renewal of the passport of one of these two Jesuits that, after his releasing, was living in Germany, asking that the passport was renewed without necessity of this priest coming back to Argentina. The second document is a note from the officer that received the petition recommending to his superior, the minister, the refusal of the renewal of the passport. And the third document is a note from the same officer telling that these priests have links with subversion—that was the name that the military gave to all the people involved in opposition to the government, political or armed opposition to the military—and that he was jailed in the mechanics school of the navy, and saying that this information was provided to the officer by Father Jorge Mario Bergoglio, provincial superior of the Jesuit company. This means, to my understanding, a double standard. He asked the passport given to the priest in a formal note with his signature, but under the table he said the opposite and repeated the accusations that produced the kidnapping of these priests.

AMY GOODMAN: And these priests—can you explain, Horacio, what happened to these two priests, Orlando Yorio and Francisco Jalics?

HORACIO VERBITSKY: Yes. Orlando, after his releasing, went to Rome.

AMY GOODMAN: How were they found?


AMY GOODMAN: How were they found? In what condition were they? What had happened to them?

HORACIO VERBITSKY: Well, he was released—both of them were released, drugged, confused, transported by helicopter to—in the outskirts of Buenos Aires, were abandoned, asleep by drugs, in very bad condition. They were tortured. They were interrogated. One of the interrogators had externally knowings about theological questions, that induced one of them, Orlando Yorio, to think that their own provincial, Bergoglio, had been involved in this interrogatory.
AMY GOODMAN: He said that—he said that Bergoglio himself had been part of the—his own interrogation, this Jesuit priest?

HORACIO VERBITSKY: He told me that he had the impression their own provincial, Bergoglio, was present during the interrogatory, which one of the interrogators had externally knowledge of theological questions. . . .


11 comments for “Don’t Applaud for Him, Argentina: Cardinal Bergoglio (Pope Francis) and the Dirty War”

  1. Redstate.com founder and cable news contributor Erick Erickson’s take on the selection of the new Pope:

    That lefties are accusing the new pope of handing over lefties to the right wing junta for execution makes me adore the new pope.

    Yep, he went there.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | March 13, 2013, 6:44 pm
  2. Thanks to Dave & Pterrafractyl for the timely & useful links which I hadn’t seen.

    Comment: A repulsive choice for pope, all the more revealing for its suggestion of the intransigence & sense of impunity which must have been shared by the Cardinals, for them to fail to disqualify Bergoglio on the basis of the hint of accusations alone.

    Note his classic GOP playbook response to the accusations in the story below: “Old news”. This is such a classic Reagan/Bush/Dubya boilerplate reaction, it’s laughable, but revealing also in its inappropriate indifference to the accusation’s topic.

    More disturbing is Bergoglio’s reputation for integrity via his austere lifestyle. Imagine how much he will brilliantly & successfully divide the poorest (and divide the “progressive Left”) as he promotes his Mother Teresa image while supporting the global imposition of world fascism & the in-progress building of its infrastructure: He may well be beloved.


    Pope Francis Kidnapping Controversy: Jorge Mario Bergoglio Accused [By His Own Priest] Of Involvement In 1976 Abductions

    Posted: 03/13/2013 6:20 pm EDT

    The election of Pope Francis, previously Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, has resurfaced a decades-old controversy surrounding the kidnappings of two Jesuit priests.

    Bergoglio was a high-ranking official in the Society of Jesus of Argentina when a military junta was installed in the South American country in 1976. According to the Los Angeles Times, priests Orlando Yorio and Francisco Jalics were kidnapped in May of that year by the navy. “They surfaced five months later, drugged and seminude, in a field,” the Times reported. A 2005 lawsuit accused Bergoglio of unspecified involvement in the abductions. Reuters explains that “the military government secretly jailed [Yorio and Jalics] for their work in poor neighborhoods.”

    A spokesman for Bergoglio called the claims “old slander.”

    Reuters has more details:

    According to “The Silence,” a book written by journalist Horacio Verbitsky, Bergoglio withdrew his order’s protection of the two men after they refused to quit visiting the slums, which ultimately paved the way for their capture.
    Verbitsky’s book is based on statements by Orlando Yorio, one of the kidnapped Jesuits, before he died of natural causes in 2000. Both of the abducted clergymen survived five months of imprisonment.

    “History condemns him. It shows him to be opposed to all innovation in the Church and above all, during the dictatorship, it shows he was very cozy with the military,” Fortunato Mallimacci, the former dean of social sciences at the Universidad de Buenos Aires, once said.

    Those who defend Bergoglio say there is no proof behind these claims and, on the contrary, they say the priest helped many dissidents escape during the military junta’s rule.

    Per the Associated Press, “Yorio accused Bergoglio of effectively handing them over to the death squads by declining to tell the regime that he endorsed their work. Jalics refused to discuss it after moving into seclusion in a German monastery.” Bergoglio discussed the incident with Sergio Rubin, his authorized biographer.

    More from AP:

    Both men were freed after Bergoglio took extraordinary, behind-the-scenes action to save them – including persuading dictator Jorge Videla’s family priest to call in sick so that he could say Mass in the junta leader’s home, where he privately appealed for mercy. His intervention likely saved their lives, but Bergoglio never shared the details until Rubin interviewed him for the 2010 biography.
    Bergoglio testified about the matter in 2010 after twice refusing to appear in open court, but “his answers were evasive, human rights attorney Myriam Bregman said.”

    Posted by R. Wilson | March 13, 2013, 7:49 pm
  3. On the topic of the stolen children of murdered Left-wing dissidents of the 1976 Argentina military coup, I’d appreciate any links detailing his role & the role of his predecessor.

    Amnesty International, Uki Goni & others have documented the Catholic Church’s active participation in the scandal of the “stolen children” in Argentina during the dictatorship. The Bishop of the diocese of Buenos Aires, Antonio Baseotto, assisted in the trafficking of children who were stolen from dissident parents who were then murdered — including waiting for pregnant women to give birth, then murdering the mothers immediately after the birth & redistributing the infants to military personnel.

    Baseotto reportedly kept a list of the murdered, the children, and to whom they were distributed (citation needed, but I remember possessing an article about this once). Whether or not the list in question exists or existed, Baseotto was a participant in legitimizing the redistribution of these children via baptismal registration.

    As a subsequent prelate of the Buenos Aires diocese, the new pope had an obligation to simple justice to investigate Baseotto, and to investigate the possibility of such a list. His policy was apparently no more than apology. He was in a unique position to contribute to some redemption for the Church’s crimes. He did not.

    The list in question seems to have no English-language articles about it. The Church itself issued an apology for “failing to listen” (a passive role implied for itself — i.e., a non-apology apology) during the coup and killings and redistribution of children.

    Posted by R. Wilson | March 13, 2013, 7:56 pm
  4. When I heard that he was from Argentina, I had the same thoughts as you did, to a tee. You read my mind. Right on the “money”, so to speak.

    Posted by Claude | March 13, 2013, 10:47 pm
  5. @R. Wilson: The fact that this entire re-Popeing of the Vatican is, in part, due to the previous Pope’s protection of pedophile priests. And everyone knew this fact before the Ratzinger got to where the big hat since one of the first things people talked about after Ratzinger was Poped was his role as the Vatican’s pitbull on the molestation matter. So that should probably inure one to just about any further Vatican craziness. But it’s still kind of shocked that all those Cardinals that seem to want a “rebranding” of the Vatican decided that the best choice was a guy that was guaranteed to start off his term with a “he said, he said” debate over whether or not the new Pope assisted a military junta in kidnapping the priests and stealing babies. Were there just a lot of uninformed voters in that Popelection that are all like “OMG I can’t believer I voted for that guy” or was this really the best available option?

    New pope tied up in Argentina’s ‘dirty war’ debate

    By By MICHAEL WARREN, Associated Press – 3/14/2013

    BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — It’s beyond dispute that Jorge Mario Bergoglio, like most other Argentines, failed to openly confront the 1976-1983 military junta as it kidnapped and killed thousands of people in a “dirty war” to eliminate leftist opponents.

    But human rights activists differ on how much responsibility Pope Francis personally deserves for the Argentine church’s dark history of supporting the murderous dictatorship.

    The new pope’s authorized biographer, Sergio Rubin, argues that this was a failure of the Roman Catholic Church in general, and that it’s unfair to label Bergoglio, then a thirtysomething leader of Argentina’s Jesuits, with the collective guilt that many Argentines of his generation still wrestle with.

    But others say Bergoglio’s rise through the Argentine church since then has put him in many positions of power where he could have done more to atone for the sins of Catholic officials who did actively conspire with the dictators. Some priests even worked inside torture centers, and blessed those doing the killing.

    Bergoglio twice invoked his right under Argentine law to refuse to appear in open court in trials involving torture and murder inside the feared Navy Mechanics School and the theft of babies from detainees. When he eventually did testify in 2010, his answers were evasive, human rights attorney Myriam Bregman told the AP.

    Bergoglio’s own statements proved church officials knew from early on that the junta was torturing and killing its citizens even as the church publicly endorsed the dictators, she said. “The dictatorship could not have operated this way without this key support,” she said.

    Rubin, a religious affairs writer for the Argentine newspaper Clarin, said Bergoglio actually took major risks to save so-called “subversives” during the dictatorship, but never spoke about it publicly before his 2010 biography, “The Jesuit.”

    In the book, Bergoglio said he didn’t want to stoop to his critics’ level — and then shared some of his stories. Bergoglio said he once passed his Argentine identity papers to a wanted man with a similar appearance, enabling him to escape over the border to Brazil. Various times, he said he sheltered people inside church properties before they were safely delivered into exile.

    The most damning accusation against Bergoglio is that as the military junta took over in 1976, he withdrew his support for two slum priests whose activist colleagues in the liberation theology movement were disappearing. The priests were then kidnapped and tortured at the Navy Mechanics School, which the junta used as a clandestine prison.

    Bergoglio said he had told the priests — Orlando Yorio and Francisco Jalics — to give up their slum work for their own safety, and they refused.

    “I warned them to be very careful,” Bergoglio told Rubin. “They were too exposed to the paranoia of the witch hunt. Because they stayed in the barrio, Yorio and Jalics were kidnapped.”

    Yorio later accused Bergoglio of effectively delivering them to the death squads by declining to publicly endorse their work. Yorio is now dead, and Jalics has refused to discuss those events since moving into a German monastery.

    Both priests were eventually dropped off blindfolded in a field after a harrowing helicopter ride, two of the few detainees to have survived that prison.

    Rubin said Bergoglio only reluctantly told him the rest of the story: that he had gone to extraordinary, behind-the-scenes lengths to save them.

    The Jesuit leader persuaded the family priest of feared dictator Jorge Videla to call in sick so that he could say Mass instead. Once inside the junta leader’s home, Bergoglio privately appealed for mercy, Rubin wrote.

    “Fortunately, a while later they were freed, first because they couldn’t accuse them of anything, and second, because we moved like crazy people. The very night that I learned of their kidnapping, I began moving” to save them, Bergoglio recalled. All this was done in secret, at a time when other church leaders were publicly endorsing the junta and calling on Catholics to restore their “love for country” despite the terror in the streets. Other members of the slum church who were captured along with the priests were never seen again.

    “It’s a very sensitive subject,” Rubin told the AP. “The Argentine church was one of the most conservative in Latin America. It showed a good disposition toward the military authorities, who, to make matters worse, considered themselves Christians and called themselves good Catholics.”

    There were about 50 Argentine bishops at the time, and Bergoglio was somewhere in the middle politically, Rubin suggested.

    “There were some who were in it up to their necks,” he said, citing Christian Federico von Wernich, who served as a police chaplain then and is now serving a life sentence for torture and kidnapping.

    “There were those who risked it all to openly challenge the junta, and some of those ended up dead,” Rubin added, among them Bishop Enrique Angelelli who was killed in a suspicious traffic accident in 1976 while carrying evidence about two murdered priests.

    Activists say the church has yet to fully apologize for its human rights record, identify those responsible for the many violations the church knew about at the time, or lead Argentina’s justice system to bodies and people who were stolen as babies from their birth families.

    Bergoglio said when he ran Argentina’s bishops conference in the 1990s that no such evidence existed in church files, but that hasn’t satisfied Gaston Chillier, director of the Center for Legal and Social Studies, which tracks the country’s human rights cases.

    “There’s a serious problem here, that the new pope could be involved in confusing episodes over his role in covering up the human rights violations during the dictatorship, and beyond that, he was the head of the church for a long time during which they didn’t apologize. This affects the legitimacy they were hoping to confer on the leader of the church,” Chillier said.

    Bergoglio was named Buenos Aires cardinal in 2001, after running the Argentine conference of bishops for several years. Under his leadership, Argentina’s bishops issued a collective apology in October 2012 for the church’s failures to protect its flock during the dictatorship, but the statement blamed the era’s violence in roughly equal measure on both the junta and its enemies.

    “Bergoglio has been very critical of human rights violations during the dictatorship, but he has always also criticized the leftist guerrillas; he doesn’t forget that side,” Rubin said.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | March 14, 2013, 8:37 pm
  6. Since Paul VI, with the possible exception of the short lived John Paul I (remember him, Pope for a month), all the pontiffs had a connection to the Rat Line.

    The old saying goes, “All roads lead to Rome”, but the Rat Line lead to Argentina.

    Dave always said ‘What goes around, comes around’.

    Posted by Vanfield | March 14, 2013, 10:58 pm
  7. And the first official Vatican response to the “Dirty War” allegations appear to be “the ‘anti-clerical left’ is just making up stories”:

    The New York Times
    Vatican Rejects Argentine Accusations Against Pope Francis
    Published: March 15, 2013

    VATICAN CITY — — For the first time since the election of the Argentine Pope Francis two days ago, the Vatican on Friday formally defended his role in the so-called Dirty War in Argentina when critics have accused him of failing to do enough to halt abuses of which he had knowledge.

    Rev. Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, said there had “never been a credible accusation against him” relating to the period in the 1970s when he was the superior of the Jesuit order in Argentina.

    Indeed, “there have been many declarations of how much he did for many people to protect them from the military dictatorship,” Father Lombardi said in a statement at a news conference.

    “The accusations belong to the use of a historical-social analysis of facts for many years by the anti-clerical left to attack the church and must be rejected decisively.”

    Speaking to the church’s cardinals, he urged them to persevere and find ways to spread word of their faith around the world.

    “Let us not give in to pessimism, to that bitterness that the devil offers us every day,” he said. But he offered no direct allusion to the myriad challenges facing the Vatican from a series of sexual abuse, financial and other scandals that swamped much of Benedict’s papacy.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | March 15, 2013, 8:37 am
  8. @ R. Wilson:

    Consortium News has the only direct reference to Bergoglio’s knowledge of infant theft I have found yet, and it may be significant:

    “Yet, after the Dirty War, amid efforts to exact some accountability for the political slaughter, Bergoglio resisted cooperation with human right trials and, when he finally testified in 2010, his answers were evasive, human rights attorney Myriam Bregman told the Associated Press.

    Regarding the practice of harvesting babies from doomed women and then farming them out to military families, Bergoglio has insisted that he didn’t know of the practice until well after the Dirty War was over.

    However, Estela de la Cuadra family contradicted Bergoglio’s claim of ignorance in citing a 1977 case in which Jesuits in Rome urged Bergoglio to intervene regarding the kidnapping of Estela’s sister Elena, who was five months’ pregnant. The police reported back that the woman was a communist and thus was killed but her baby girl was first delivered and then given to an “important” family.

    “Bergoglio has a very cowardly attitude when it comes to something so terrible as the theft of babies,” Estela de la Cuadra told the AP. “The question is how to save his name, save himself. But he can’t keep these allegations from reaching the public. The people know how he is.”


    Posted by Swamp | March 15, 2013, 9:30 am
  9. Here is children stolen, on a much larger scale by the Catholic Church:


    Jewish children hidden twice over by the Church
    A French historian examines a 1946 directive forbidding Catholic authorities from handing over baptized Jewish children to their families after the Holocaust

    By Rebecca Benhamou May 27, 2013, 5:47 am 7

    PARIS — Reopening a scandal that broke in 2004, the new French book “L’Eglise de France et les enfants juifs” (“The French Church and Jewish Children”) is a 10-year investigation into one of the most controversial post-war Catholic Church policies.

    The book, which recently hit French bookstores, opens with a October 23, 1946, directive from the French Apostolic Nunciature that author Catherine Poujol found in the Church Archives in 2004 in Issy-les-Moulineaux, a commune in the southwestern area of Paris.

    Leaked to the Italian daily newspaper Corriere Della Sera without her permission on December 28, 2004, the document — written in French and “approved by the Holy Father” — forbids Catholic authorities from allowing Jewish children who had been sheltered by Catholics and baptized to be returned to their families and communities.

    “For Jews today, children or grandchildren of Shoah survivors, the letter from the Nunciature is written evidence of what was once feared,” Poujol writes. “We knew that after the war, Jewish organizations did everything in their power to obtain a letter from the pope, a memorandum asking institutions looking after hidden Jewish children to hand them over.

    “Today, we have the evidence that a contrary order came from the Vatican, and affected some of these children,” she adds.

    The formal Church directive outlining how to deal with requests from Jewish organizations looking for hidden children throughout Europe fails to mention the atrocities of the Holocaust.

    “Children who have been baptized must not be entrusted to institutions that would not be in a position to guarantee their Christian upbringing,” the document says. “For children who no longer have their parents, given the fact that the Church is responsible for them, it is not acceptable for them to be abandoned by the Church or entrusted to any persons who have no rights over them, at least until they are in a position to choose themselves.”

    Archbishop of Lyon Monsignor Gerlier — credited with rescuing 120 Jewish children from deportation in Vénissieux — received the letter on April 30, 1947, along with another document, entitled “Note from the Abbot Blanc.”

    Explaining the opinion of a theologist consulted by the Vatican envoy in France, Angelo Rocalli, the document states: “Baptism is what makes a Christian, hence it ‘cancels the Jew,’ which allowed the Church to protect so many endangered Israelites.”

    To this day, there are no reliable figures on how many French Jewish children were hidden and saved by Catholics, or directly affected by this Church directive.

    For almost a decade, Poujol has refused to talk to the press about her discovery. Now, she explains the reasons behind her silence.

    “I didn’t want to add fuel to the fire without properly investigating the subject — and this was a very complex, lengthy process,” she told The Times of Israel.

    “When the media published the directive, they had no evidence whatsoever of its origin and its actual impact on the field,” she continues. “For a historian, it is very tempting to talk to the press, especially when you discover something big. But had I talked, I would have lost my credibility and the Church’s trust.”

    Poujol admits, however, that without the 2004 scandal, the French Church would probably not have granted her access to its private archives.

    “The Church felt cornered, and at first adopted an inward-looking stance. But soon it realized that denying the access to these postwar documents would fuel the scandal even more.”

    After examining countless sources and traveling throughout Europe, the US and Israel, Poujol came to the conclusion that even if this document clearly outlines the Church’s intention of keeping baptized Jewish children under its custody, it doesn’t cast blame on the entire Catholic Church.

    “Many priests and bishops acted completely independently and didn’t abide by the directive,” she says.

    Poujol notes that there is very little evidence as to which members of the Church did receive the note.

    ‘On the one hand, a sacrament, in this case baptism, was administered to save individuals from a likely death. But on the other hand, Catholics truly believe in the rescue of souls via this sacrament’

    “After the war, the Church was in an unprecedented, exceptional situation — and wasn’t prepared for it,” she says. “On the one hand, a sacrament, in this case baptism, was administered to save individuals from a likely death. But on the other hand, Catholics truly believe in the rescue of souls via this sacrament.”

    Amid numerous, well-documented examples, Poujol mentions the Finaly Affair, which consumed and divided France in 1953.

    In 1944, two Jewish boys, Robert and Gerald Finaly, were sent by their parents to a Catholic nursery in Grenoble. After the parents were deported and died at Auschwitz, their uncle and aunt, who were living in Israel, attempted to get the children back.

    In 1948, French Catholic nurse Antoinette Brun baptized the children without the family’s permission and formally adopted them, omitting to tell the judge about the existence of other relatives.

    The affair reached the national spotlight when a police investigation found that several nuns of the Notre Dame de Sion order and Basque priests had arranged and executed the kidnapping and smuggling of the children in Spain in February 1953.

    The boys were returned to their family on July 25 after an eight-year legal battle that divided the French public opinion.

    Poujol explains, “The Finaly Affair is the most emblematic example of the Church’s ambivalent attitude. The debate opposed on the one hand Monsignor Gerlier, who did everything he could not to hand over the children, and on the other hand, Monsignor Caillot, archbishop of Grenoble and fervent supporter of the Vichy government, who lobbied actively to return the boys to their family.”

    “French public opinion was divided into two opposing camps, clericals against anti-clericals, Zionists against anti-Zionists, and canon law against Republican law,” she adds.

    In France, 11,600 Jewish children died during World War II, but another 72,400 survived.

    “There are many gray areas when it comes to the role of the Catholic Church during and after the war; we cannot jump to a clear-cut, black or white conclusion,” says Poujol. “The very goal of my book is to show that we need to adopt a nuanced stance.”

    Posted by Vanfield | May 29, 2013, 2:52 pm
  10. http://globalnews.ca/news/624150/pope-angers-turkey-over-armenian-genocide-comment/

    June 7, 2013 6:07 pm
    Pope angers Turkey over Armenian genocide comment
    By Nick Logan Global News

    Pope Francis has angered the Turkish government by calling the massacre of 1.5 million Armenians, nearly a century ago, “the first genocide of the 20th century.”

    The pontiff made the comment during a visit with a delegation of Armenian Catholics on Monday, when one member of the group said she was a descendant of genocide victims.

    Hurriyet Daily News reported Friday the country’s Foreign Ministry has expressed its “disappointment” with the Vatican for making the comment.

    This isn’t the first time Pope Francis has used the term genocide to refer to the atrocities carried out between 1915 and 1918.

    At events commemorating the killings’ 91st anniversary in 2006, while he was still a cardinal in Argentina he said the mass killings were the “gravest crime of Ottoman Turkey.”

    Turkey has long argued the mass killings and the deportation of Armenians during World War I were not acts of genocide – rather that Turks, then under the Ottoman Empire, were at war and atrocities were committed on both sides.

    Several countries that recognize genocide including Argentina, Germany, Greece Russia, Lebanon and Venezuela, Vatican City and Canada.

    Read also: Obama avoids using term ‘genocide’ in marking anniversary of Armenian massacres

    Canada has had a strained but functional relationship with Turkish government since the federal government voted in 2004 to recognize the genocide.

    “It cannot be business as usual while accusing a nation of genocide. It’s a serious allegation. It needs to be substantiated, legally, historically,” Turkish Ambassador Tuncay Babali told The Canadian Press in April of this year.

    Babali said he suspects Canada is not engaging economically as quickly as Turkey would like because the genocide issue is still hanging over relations.

    He said trade between the two countries could be stronger. The Canadian Press reported the two-way trade between the countries amounted to $2.5 billion.

    But Babali suggested it could increase to $10-$15 billion in the next five years if Canada and Turkey formed deeper economic ties.

    Posted by Vanfield | June 8, 2013, 9:54 pm
  11. http://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/Europe/Muslim-envoy-asks-Pope-Francis-to-take-step-forward/Article1-1072395.aspx

    Muslim envoy asks Pope Francis to take ‘step forward’
    Vatican City, June 07, 2013
    First Published: 13:01 IST(7/6/2013)
    Last Updated: 14:47 IST(7/6/2013)

    An envoy from Sunni Islam’s highest seat of learning, Al-Azhar in Cairo, raised the prospect of restoring ties with the Vatican on Friday but called on Pope Francis to take “a step forward” by declaring that Islam is a peaceful religion. “The problems that we had were not with the Vatican
    but with the former pope. Now the doors of Al-Azhar are open,” Mahmoud Abdel Gawad, diplomatic envoy to the grand imam of Al-Azhar, Ahmed al-Tayyeb, told Italian daily Il Messaggero in Cairo.

    “Francis is a new pope. We are expecting a step forward from him. If in one of his addresses he were to declare that Islam is a peaceful religion, that Muslims are not looking for war or violence, that would be progress in itself,” he said.

    A ceremony in March in which Pope Francis washed the feet of young inmates in Rome, including a Muslim girl, was “a gesture that was very, very much appreciated” by Al-Azhar, Gawad said.

    He said that if Francis were to accept an invitation from Coptic Orthodox pope Tawadros II to visit Egypt, he could also visit Al-Azhar.

    “At that point, relations and dialogue would be restored immediately,” he was quoted as saying.

    But Gawad ruled out the prospect of talks between the leaders of the world’s three main monotheistic religions mentioned in Vatican circles, saying Al-Azhar “will not take part in any meeting with Israelis.”

    In 2006, then pope Benedict XVI sparked fury across the Muslim world when he recounted an anecdote in which the Muslim Prophet Mohammed was described as a warmonger who spread evil teachings.

    Dialogue resumed in 2009, but was again severed after Benedict strongly called for protection of Christian minorities following a 2011 bombing at a church in Alexandria, Egypt’s second city.

    Posted by Vanfield | June 8, 2013, 10:58 pm

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