Monday, March 18, 2013

Fr. Franz Jalics, S.J., “I Wish Pope Francis God’s Blessings For His Office.”

Father Franz Jalics, a Hungarian-born priest living at a retreat in Bavaria, southern Germany, said that he met Jorge Bergoglio years after his detention and the pair “hugged solemnly” after celebrating Mass together in Argentina. Father Jalics said that he was arrested initially because one of his lay helpers in a poor slum in Buenos Aires had joined the opposition guerrillas, putting him and fellow priest, the late Father Orlando Yorio, under suspicion. Father Jalics added that, after five days, one of his interrogators said that he would be released, only for the two priests to be inexplicably kept handcuffed and blindfolded in custody for five months. “I cannot make a statement on the role in these events of P. Bergoglio,” Father Jalics said in his statement. His reluctance to give more details on his view of Cardinal Bergoglio’s role in the events of 1976 is likely to fuel suspicions in the light of a document discovered by the investigative journalist Horacio Verbitsky and included in his book The Silence. Signed by a regime official, Anselmo Orcoyen, it suggests that Cardinal Bergoglio was the source of information to the regime on Father Jalics. The typewritten memo from December 1976 listed information on Father Jalics, including “conflicts of obedience”, details of his six-month detention over “suspected guerrilla contacts” and the priest’s refusal of orders to leave the community in which he worked. The memo states that the information “was supplied... by Father Bergoglio”.
 
Mr Verbitsky also quoted a letter written by Father Yorio in Rome in November 1977, in which the priest suggested that Card. Bergoglio was the man who had denounced them. In his statement, Father Jalics said: “In 1974, moved by the inner desire to live the gospel and raise awareness about the terrible poverty, and with the permission of Archbishop Aramburu and the then Provincial Fr Jorge Mario Bergoglio, I entered with a colleague into a favela [slum]. “We had no contact with the junta or the guerrillas… but we lost touch with one of our lay collaborators, who joined the guerrillas.
“After nine months he was captured by the soldiers of the junta and interrogated, and they found out that he was with us. On the assumption that we were dealing with the guerrillas, we were arrested. “After a five-day interrogation, the officer in charge spoke these words: ‘Fathers, you have no guilt. I will therefore arrange that you can go back to the slums.’ “Despite this commitment, we were then for some inexplicable reason kept in custody for five months, blindfolded and handcuffed. I cannot make a statement on the role in these events of P. Bergoglio.” Father Jalics then added that he was able to speak about these events many years later when Father Bergoglio was Archbishop of Buenos Aires, without giving details of their discussion. He ended his statement by declaring: “I wish Pope Francis God’s blessings for his office.”
The Vatican on Friday rejected as “defamatory” claims that Pope Francis did not do enough in his past to save two priests kidnapped and tortured by the Argentinian military junta. “There has never been a credible, concrete accusation against him. The Argentinian justice system... has never charged him with anything,” Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said.

Joseph Fromm

March 19, 2013

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