News Release

Pope: * Among the Poor * Against Liberation Theology * “Complicit” with “Dirty War”


ERIC LeCOMPTE, [email]
Executive director of the Jubilee USA Network, LeCompte said: “Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio chose the name Francis. His name choice of Francis signifies that his papacy will have a great devotion to justice, peace and to the poor. He is also the first Pope of the Global South and he will articulate a vision of an international economy that serves and protects the poor. Here’s a guy who has taken the life of St. Francis seriously. He gave up his mansion and driver and lives in an apartment in Buenos Aires. He even cooked for himself. … More than 100 U.S. Catholic religious orders and congregations are members of Jubilee USA Network. The Network was formed after calls from Pope John Paul II and other religious leaders to forgive the debts of poor countries.” See full statement.

MATTHEW FOX, via Dennis Edwards, [email]
Author of The Pope’s War: Why Ratzinger’s Secret Crusade Has Imperiled the Church and How It Can Be Saved, Fox said today: “One can HOPE that he will stand up for cleansing the church and for justice movements but his track record on the latter is not particularly impressive. He was not a strong voice against the military junta of Argentina and he opposed base communities and liberation theology and instead allied himself with Communion and Liberation, which has been called ‘an Italian Opus Dei’. Will he allow women roles of leadership?

“He denounced the gay marriage movement as ‘a machination of the Father of Lies’ and the president of Argentina said the tone reminded her of ‘medieval times and the inquisition.’

“He was appointed, as all 115 cardinals have been, by the (in my opinion) schismatic popes, John Paul II and Benedict XVI. Schismatic because they turned their back on church reforms of Vatican II and the ‘preferential option for the poor.’ The key is to watch his choice of secretary of state, the person who really runs the Vatican. The previous two popes had very shady people running things. One was admired by the bloody dictator Pinochet and close to him; the other was an admirer of Father Maciel! Will he appoint someone who is strong and able to clean house? Stay tuned.

“Meanwhile, it is time NOT to project onto popes but to restart the church at the grassroots.” Fox was forbidden to teach by then-Cardinal Ratzinger in 1988. He was just interviewed by The Real News: “A New Pope and ‘The Most Corrupt Vatican Since the Borgias‘.”

Director of the Office of the Americas, Bonpane served as a Maryknoll priest in Guatemala and has written five books including Guerrillas of Peace: Liberation Theology and the Central American Revolution. He said today: “The bad news are many allegations from people like Horacio Verbitsky [Argentinian journalist featured on “Democracy Now!” this morning] and others. In general the Argentinian prelates were complicit with the junta.

“We have a situation here like Pius XII and the Third Reich.

“Silence in complicity.

“We do have to avoid condemnation prior to much evidence. I think there is reason to seriously question his role during the dirty war.”

For background on Jorge Bergoglio’s (now Francis I) role during the Argentinian ‘dirty war,’ see: Hugh O’Shaughnessy’s 2011 piece: “The Sins of the Argentinian Church” and Robert Parry’s new piece “‘Dirty War’ Questions for Pope Francis.”

A 2005 U.S. Vatican embassy cable released by Wikileaks stated: “…Argentinian Cardinal Bergolio would be suitable to the Ratzinger camp…”

See also the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests: “South American SNAP spokesman comments on new pope,” which states: “There are reports of abuse in several Latin American countries but the power and control that the Church exercises there is so much that they are constantly crushed and denied.”