Today I found out that I’m Skepchick’s designated Catholic, which is totally weird since I know next to nothing about Catholicism. My religious education consisted of a total of 6 hours of catechism at age 11, so I have no Super Secret Catholic inside knowledge to share with you. But I am able to read Spanish, so I can dig a little bit more dirt on the new Pope.
As you’ve probably heard, Pope Francis is an austere man, likes to ride the bus, lived in a small apartment and cooked his meals by himself. He told Argentinians not to go to Rome to celebrate and give the money to the poor instead. Also, he’s a Jesuit, which is an order known for being intellectual and for their involvement on education. He trained as a chemist, taught literature, psychology, philosophy and theology before becoming bishop. So this is good right? Certainly a step up from Hitler-Youth Pope, right? Well…
Back in the 1970’s when Jorge Bergoglio, now Pope Francis, was the head of the Argentine Society of Jesus (Jesuits), the dictatorship under Jorge Rafael Videla was torturing, kidnapping and killing up to 30,000 people. The church endorsed the regime, although not all priests followed orders. In 2010, Bergoglio had to testify in two cases of victims of the dictatorship that involved him directly.
The first case involved two Jesuits who were working with people at the slums. Bergoglio withdrew their religious license and the very next day they were both kidnapped and tortured. The two priests always suspected Bergoglio of giving them away. One of the priests recalls one of his torturers saying they knew they were not with the guerilla, but that working in the slums united the poor, and that was subversive.
The other case is about babies stolen from kidnapped mothers to be given to families supporting the dictatorship. Bergoglio claims he had no knowledge of this prior to 1985, but a family produced written evidence that he was involved in the case of Monica Mignone:
Bergoglio also was accused of turning his back on a family that lost five relatives to state terror, including a young woman who was 5-months’ pregnant before she was kidnapped and killed in 1977. The De la Cuadra family appealed to the leader of the Jesuits in Rome, who urged Bergoglio to help them; Bergoglio then assigned a monsignor to the case. Months passed before the monsignor came back with a written note from a colonel: It revealed that the woman had given birth in captivity to a girl who was given to a family “too important” for the adoption to be reversed.
As you may suspect, Pope Francis also opposes gay marriage and adoption, which he thinks is discrimination against children because it deprives them of a mother and a father. He’s described as a conservative, and is claimed to have been the runner up last time around the Conclave. But, to be honest, what worries me more about the new pope is that he’s Pope Francisco, which will probably lead to a spike in Catholic fervor in Spain and Latin America. And that’s the last thing we need.