Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Pope junta claims 'a lie': Archbishop

15 March 2013, 13:56

Sydney - Australia's most senior Catholic cleric on Friday spoke out about controversy over the role of Pope Francis under Argentina's military junta, calling it "a smear and lie".

Argentine cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio's election as the new pontiff has revived examination of the part he played during the dark days of his homeland's "Dirty War", when he was a leading member of the Jesuits.

Some accuse him and his country's Church of having been too close to the brutal right-wing junta in power between 1976 and 1983.

But Sydney Archbishop George Pell, one of the men who took part in the conclave to elect the new pope, said it was old slander.

Asked by ABC radio whether the pope should make a statement to address the concerns, Pell replied: "No, not at all.

"Those stories have been dismissed years and years ago," he said.

Torture centre

"The head of Amnesty International at the time said those charges were completely false. They were a smear and a lie and they've been laid to rest years ago."

In 2010, Bergoglio was questioned as a witness by judges probing the arrest and torture of two young Jesuits, Orlando Yorio and Francisco Jalics, who were taken to the notorious Naval School of Mechanics in March 1976.

It was known as a torture centre during Argentina's so-called Dirty War, in which government agents targeted suspected left-wing activists, tens of thousands of whom were "disappeared".

Yorio and Jalics were freed alive after five months.

Bergoglio was alleged to have betrayed the young missionaries to the regime because they had become opposition sympathisers and he wanted to preserve the Jesuits' political neutrality.

He was also questioned in two more investigations into alleged regime crimes, but no charges were brought and he denied any wrongdoing.

Pell said the cardinals did not consider this part of Bergoglio's history when electing him, ABC reported.



Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
Wilwon Ochieng
Deputy Governor's ally found with...

The EACC has recovered KES 2 million in fake currency from a close ally of Deputy Governor for Tharaka Nithi Eliud Mati. Read more...

Submitted by
William Korir
Mudavadi given permission to join...

Musalia Mudavadi has been ghranted permission by his party to join the CORD Coalition. Read more...

Submitted by
Victor Tinto
EACC officers raid Deputy Governo...

EACC officers raided the home of a Deputy Governor as theft case continues in court. Read more...

Submitted by
Wilson Ochieng
New IEBC bosses to be named Novem...

New IEBC bosses will be named on November 30. Read more...

Submitted by
William Korir
DP Ruto has spoilt my name, activ...

DP William Ruto has spoilt my name, activist complains. Read more...

Submitted by
Wilson Ochieng
Apologise for attack on Auditor G...

Apologise for attack on Auditor General, President Uhuru Kenyatta is told by Kisumu Senator Anyang Nyong'o. Read more...