Pope Francis

The newly elected Pope Francis I waves to the crowds from St Peter's basilica.

The college of cardinals has selected a new pope. He is an Argentinian named Jorge Bergoglio, but he will rule under the name Francis, in honor of St. Francis of Assisi. The Guradian reports:

    Inside the Sistine Chapel after the final vote was cast, the most junior of the cardinals, James Harvey, a former prefect of the papal household, called in the secretary of the college of cardinals, Monsignor Lorenzo Baldisseri, and the master of papal liturgical ceremonies, Monsignor Guido Marini, to witness the new pope’s acceptance of one of the most daunting jobs on Earth.

Daunting? Really? I imagine being a coal miner would be a daunting job, as would being a factory worker at Foxconn. But being Pope? You mostly just have to wear funny clothes and make reactionary statements. Sounds like a sweet gig to me. The Guardian also reports:

    No indication of how or why the new pope was chosen was expected to emerge. On Tuesday, before the start of the conclave, the cardinal-electors took an oath of secrecy, as had those Vatican employees and officials involved in the election.

    Additional precautions included a sweep of the Sistine Chapel to ensure that no listening devices had been planted inside and the use of electronic jamming techniques.

If history teaches us one thing, it’s that people who obsess over secrecy are usually up to no good. And when one looks into the background of this man, Bergoglio, one can see that he has good reasons for secrecy. According to another article in the Guardian:

    The main charge against Bergoglio involves the kidnapping of two Jesuit priests, Orland Yorio and Francisco Jalics, who were taken by Navy officers in May 1976 and held under inhumane conditions for the missionary work they conducted in the country’s slums, a politically risky activity at the time.

    His chief accuser is journalist Horacio Verbitsky, the author of a book on the church called “El Silencio” (“The Silence”), which claims that Bergoglio withdrew his order’s protection from the two priests, effectively giving the military a green light for their abduction.

Actually, the election of Bergoglio makes perfect sense to me. With the church besieged by accusations of money laundering and child abuse, who better to have as Pope than a criminal?

Ratzinger – er, I mean Pope Benedict XVI – got a lot of grief for having been a member of the Hitler Youth as a child. In my view, that’s negated by the fact that he refused to serve in the German army during World War II. But what are we to make of a man who aided and abetted a murderous regime? And what should we make of a church that promotes such a man to its highest position?

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4 Responses to “Pope Francis”

  1. Michael Says:

    I’d point out that at the link you posted the guardian has issued a correction to the original article.

    “This article was amended on 14 March 2013. The original article, published in 2011, wrongly suggested that Argentinian journalist Horacio Verbitsky claimed that Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio connived with the Argentinian navy to hide political prisoners on an island called El Silencio during an inspection by human rights monitors. Although Verbitsky makes other allegations about Bergoglio’s complicity in human right abuses, he does not make this claim. The original article also wrongly described El Silencio as Bergoglio’s “holiday home”. This has been corrected.”

    • The Spanish Prisoner Says:

      The Guardian has another article: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/mar/14/pope-francis-argentina-military-junta

      “Its behaviour during that dark period in Argentine history was so unsaintly that in 2000 the Argentine Catholic church itself made a public apology for its failure to take a stand against the generals. “We want to confess before God everything we have done badly,” Argentina’s Episcopal Conference said at that time.

      In February, a court noted during the sentencing of three former military men to life imprisonment for the killings of two priests that the church hierarchy had “closed its eyes” to the killing of progressive priests.

      As head of the Jesuit order from 1973 to 1979, Jorge Bergoglio – as the new pope was known until yesterday – was a member of the hierarachy during the period when the wider Catholic church backed the military government and called for their followers to be patriotic.”

      • Michael McCall Says:

        That’s disheartening if unsurprising. The church hierarchy moved to kill liberation theology, and during John Paul II and his successor remained silent or supportive of the repression of left-wing dissidents and sympathetic priests. I’d hoped that the new Pope marked a departure from that, but I guess it’s the same old story.

        “And once again, with honourable exception, the Catholic Church sides with the rich.”
        Damien O’Donovan, The Wind That Shakes the Barley.

        I can’t tell you how depressing this is to hear as a catholic communist.

    • The Spanish Prisoner Says:

      I have changed the link in the article.

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