The New York Times reported on March 15 that the Vatican has officially denied that Pope Francis has anything to hide about his actions during Argentina’s so-called Dirty War of the 1970s. Pope Francis, formerly Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, served as Archbishop of Buenos Aires prior to his election this week as high pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church's 2.1 billion worldwide members.
The paper quotes Rev. Federico Lombardi, a Vatican spokesman, saying there had “never been a credible accusation against him [Bergoglio].”
The reverend added, “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.”
Argentine journalists are not satisfied with that response. Accusations made by local priests and lay workers contradict their former cardinal’s version of what happened. The Huffington Post reported that two of these priests found themselves defrocked, kidnapped and then imprisoned for five years by the dictatorship after they publicly disagreed with Bergoglio. Over 30,000 people are said to have vanished, been tortured or killed during this brutal period.
For decades Pope Francis denied any ties to the dictatorship. He finally came clean during court proceedings in 2010 to having had secret meetings with General Jorge Videla, the head of the military junta.