Giovedì, 17 Ottobre 2019
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Francis speaks out on 'Dirty War' for first time as pope


Buenos Aires, April 18 - Pope Francis has spoken
out for the first time in his pontificate about the forced
disappearances during the Dirty War of Argentina, his home
Speaking on behalf of the pope, Antoine Camilleri, Vatican
undersecretary for relations with states, said the pope "shares
the pain of many mothers in that moment of Argentine history".
The response came just over a month after the former
archbishop of Buenos Aires, Jorge Mario Bergoglio, was named
pope and received a letter days later from the Mothers of the
Plaza de Mayo, an association of mothers whose children
"disappeared" during the military dictatorship between 1976 and
That letter, signed by the militant leader of the group
Hebe de Bonafini, expressed how struck she was by the large
amount of testimonies from people living in the poorest
neighborhoods of Buenos Aires about their friendship with
After initial skepticism of the pope, Bonafini expressed a
change of heart, while vowing nevertheless to send the pope a
list of the priests and bishops who were secretly abducted or
Recalling the pain of those who "suffered, and are still
suffering, from the tragic loss" of loved ones in those years,
the pope in his response asked God to grant "the strength to
fight for the eradication of poverty in the world".
Since his election last month, allegations have surfaced
that the pope was complicit with the junta during the Dirty War,
when he was still a priest, which the Vatican has been quick to
The claims were also largely discredited by Argentine Nobel
Peace laureate Adolfo Perez Esquivel, who said Francis had no
connections with the dictatorship.

(photo: Hebe de Bonafini and Pope Francis)

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