Monday, March 18, 2013

Pope Francis

For the first time in history, the Catholic Church has selected a Jesuit as Pope.  The can of worms this opens is truly astonishing.  This order was founded in 1534 by a Spaniard named Ignatius Loyola who took it upon himself to roll back the Protestant Reformation by any means possible—including burning Protestants alive for heresy. The Jesuits swear their allegiance to the Pope. They have long been considered the storm troopers of the church. But mostly, they have decided that the most effective way to run things is to educate the future leaders and get their ear when they gain power. They are MASTER schemers. A Jesuit who cannot discuss politics effectively isn't much of a Jesuit. This reputation has kept a Jesuit from becoming a Pope until now.

Not surprisingly, the Jesuits faced organized opposition from Protestants.  They were banned in Massachusetts in 1647.  In 1872, they were outlawed in Germany during von Bismarck's Kulturkampf.  The Swiss constitution of 1848 banned them.  The Norwegians banned them in the early 1600s—a ban that held until 1956.  By the mid-18th century, the Society had acquired a reputation in Europe for political maneuvering and economic exploitation. The Jesuits were regarded by their opponents as greedy plotters, prone to meddle in state affairs through their close ties with influential members of the royal court in order to further the special interests of their order and the Papacy.  So starting in 1750, every Catholic monarch would suppress them until in 1773, they were even banned by Pope Clement XIV.  The Jesuits had been expelled from Brazil (1754), Portugal (1759), France (1764), Spain and its colonies (1767) and Parma (1768).

There have been many Jesuit conspiracy theories including the one focused on the personality of Adam Weishaupt, a professor of law at a Jesuit school who went on to found the Bavarian Order of the Illuminati. Weishaupt was accused of being the secret leader of the New World Order, and even of being the Devil himself.  Augustin Barruel, a conservative Jesuit historian, wrote at length about Weishaupt, claiming that the Illuminati had been the secret promoters of the French Revolution.  Jesuit conspiracy theories found fertile soil in Imperial Germany, where anti-Jesuits saw the order as a sinister and extremely powerful organization characterized by strict internal discipline, utter unscrupulousness in choice of methods, and undeviating commitment to the creation of a universal empire ruled by the Papacy.

All of this is merely an introduction to the big "Jesuit conspiracy" of the 20th century—Liberation Theology.  Jesuits were an important part of the revolution against Somoza in Nicaragua but in 1983, Pope John Paul II visited the country and made it abundantly clear that he wanted nothing to do with Marxist-inspired Liberation Theology and ordered the Jesuits to abandon their role in the Sandinista government.  Since Liberation Theology traces it roots back only until 1968, it can be argued it was merely a temporary and minor disruption in the Jesuit scheme of things.

So the interesting question about the new Pope from Argentina, Jorge Bergoglio, is whether he is an old-fashioned Jesuit schemer or was he influenced by Liberation Theology?  During the years of the "dirty war" of 1976-83 Bergoglio was an important cleric.  He may have wanted to stand up to the junta but was prevented from doing so by fear or expedience. This is certainly understandable for MOST of us who would rather not be tortured by pros who learned their skills at the School of the Americas. OK. So why hasn't he cooperated with the mothers who are still trying to find out what happened to the children? They are the ones accusing Bergoglio of being complicit with the junta. (see also below)  After all, Bergoglio has no trouble finding his voice when it comes to criticizing current Argentine President Ms. Fernandez / Kirchner.

Pope Francis, CIA and "Death Squads"

by Robert Parry | March 17, 2013

The election of Argentine Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio as Pope Francis brings back into focus the troubling role of the Catholic hierarchy in blessing much of the brutal repression that swept Latin America in the 1970s and 1980s, killing and torturing tens of thousands of people including priests and nuns accused of sympathizing with leftists.

The Vatican’s fiercely defensive reaction to the reemergence of these questions as they relate to the new Pope also is reminiscent of the pattern of deceptive denials that became another hallmark of that era when propaganda was viewed as an integral part of the “anticommunist” struggles, which were often supported financially and militarily by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency.

It appears that Bergoglio, who was head of the Jesuit order in Buenos Aires during Argentina’s grim “dirty war,” mostly tended to his bureaucratic rise within the Church as Argentine security forces “disappeared” some 30,000 people for torture and murder from 1976 to 1983, including 150 Catholic priests suspected of believing in “liberation theology.”

Much as Pope Pius XII didn’t directly challenge the Nazis during the Holocaust, Father Bergoglio avoided any direct confrontation with the neo-Nazis who were terrorizing Argentina. Pope Francis’s defenders today, like apologists for Pope Pius, claim he did intervene quietly to save some individuals.

But no one asserts that Bergoglio stood up publicly against the “anticommunist” terror, as some other Church leaders did in Latin America, most notably El Salvador’s Archbishop Oscar Romero who then became a victim of right-wing assassins in 1980.

Indeed, the predominant role of the Church hierarchy – from the Vatican to the bishops in the individual countries – was to give political cover to the slaughter and to offer little protection to the priests and nuns who advocated “liberation theology,” i.e. the belief that Jesus did not just favor charity to the poor but wanted a just society that shared wealth and power with the poor.

In Latin America with its calcified class structure of a few oligarchs at one end and many peasants at the other, that meant reforms, such as land redistribution, literacy programs, health clinics, union rights, etc. But those changes were fiercely opposed by the local oligarchs and the multinational corporations that profited from the cheap labor and inequitable land distribution.

So, any reformers of any stripe were readily labeled “communists” and were made the targets of vicious security forces, often trained and indoctrinated by “anticommunist” military officers at the U.S.-run School of the Americas. The primary role of the Catholic hierarchy was to urge the people to stay calm and support the traditional system. more

Argentine grandmothers attack Pope over 'Dirty War' era

16 MARCH 2013

AFP - An Argentinian human rights group set up to find babies stolen during the country's "Dirty War" on Friday accused newly elected Pope Francis of failing to speak out against the country's former military rulers.

The famous Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo organization, founded in 1977 to help locate children kidnapped during the military era, said Jorge Mario Bergoglio, now Pope Francis, had not done enough to help victims of rights abuses.

The criticism came amid heightened scrutiny of Pope Francis's actions during Argentina's "Dirty War" in which 30,000 people died or disappeared from 1976 to 1983.

Earlier Friday, the Vatican rejected claims Pope Francis had failed to do all he could to protect two priests kidnapped and tortured during military rule, when he was head of the Jesuit order in Argentina at the time.

However the head of the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo, Estela Carlotto, joined the chorus of criticism surrounding the new pontiff.

"The Grandmothers have reproaches for the new pontiff," Carlotto told reporters.

"He has never spoken of the problem of people who had disappeared under dictatorial rule, and 30 years have already passed since our return to democracy."

Carlotto's daughter, Laura, was abducted and killed during military rule after being taken to a secret detention center. A baby boy she gave birth to while in custody has never been found.

Carlotto said she had expected the Argentinian clergy to help during the years of rights abuses.

"I am a Catholic, and many of us sought help from the church in the first years of dictatorship because we believed that bishops were on our side," said Carlotto.

But she said the church hierarchy had "deeply disappointed" her. more

When Pope Francis Testified About the Dirty War

In a closed hearing, he disputed accusations of complicity with the junta

While the world has generally welcomed the Catholic Church's selection of the Argentine Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio as pope, one large and dark question hangs over his ascension: As the head of the Jesuit order during Argentina’s last dictatorship, was he complicit with the military regime that kidnapped, tortured, and murdered thousands of its citizens?

Bergoglio, now Pope Francis, has rarely spoken about his own role in what's known as the "Dirty War," during which at least 9,000 people were forcibly disappeared. But in 2010, he appeared as a witness in the criminal trial of eighteen officers who had worked at the notorious Naval Mechanics School, where the country's military junta detained political prisoners—including a pair of Jesuit priests who'd been kidnapped shortly after the regime took power in a 1976 coup. Bergoglio, who was not a defendant in the case, insisted on clerical testimonial privilege and did not testify in open court; proceedings were held in his office. As part of my research into that trial, I obtained access to a transcript from the hearing, during which prosecutors and human rights lawyers grilled him for more than four hours over his alleged complicity in the kidnappings. The transcript has not been widely circulated, though it recently appeared in Spanish on the website of an Argentine human rights NGO. It offers a unique insight into the steps Bergoglio took and did not take to save the desaparecidos.

By the time he testified, Bergoglio had been facing criticism about the kidnapping for years. His critics allege that he withdrew Church protection from the priests, Orlando Yorio and Francisco Jalics, who worked with the poor in the Bajo Flores slum of Buenos Aires. According to this theory, Bergoglio had warned the priests that they should abandon the slum because sectors of the military and church saw their activity as "subversive." When the priests refused, he allegedly told them they'd have to leave the Compañia de Jesus, their local order, if they wanted to keep working there—effectively giving the green light to the military junta to detain them. In a 1999 interview, conducted shortly before he died, Yorio said that he faulted Bergoglio for his kidnapping. Bergoglio denied complicity. After the interview was published in a book in 2005, a local human rights lawyer filed a criminal complaint against Bergoglio over the incident. The courts, however, have not taken any steps to indict Bergoglio, according to the lawyer, Marcelo Parrilli. But the interview appeared just as Bergoglio was being mentioned as a possible successor to Pope John Paul II. more

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