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So much for electing a scandal free pope to clean up the church.
When I heard who had been elected, I knew I'd read something about the role of the Catholic clergy in the 'disappearance' of Argentine opponents of the dictatorship if the Generals.

A quick Google found this...


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Mmm but no child sex abuse. It is a bit of an improvement.

See my reply to Louise, below, re sex abuse in Argentina, but basically it is, "None that we know of that can be tied to Bergoglio."

Given the church's tendency to play politics of various kinds, I'd be quite surprised if there was a cardinal who hadn't been involved in a scandal of some kind at some point.

Well, not among those appointed by JP II and Bennie! (The most prominent sex abuse scandal in Argentina dates to 1994 -- though it was a large one and within a seminary -- so unless there were Jesuits involved (Bergoglio was then head of the Jesuits in Argentina) he is not tied to that.

However, it is accepted that the cover-up has been much more effective in South America and Asia.

But as your original post highlights, sex abuse is far from the only scandal the church has managed to get itself embroiled in.

The only think I can see in his favour is that he isn't one of the even viler African cardinals, but that isn't saying much.

Jesuits are about as ruthless as you can get, and this one is anti-gay, so no change there.

Someone suggested this morning that, has he has a degree in chemistry, he might be more sympathetic to dealing with climate change... I really doubt it, though.

Whatever they come up with, there's no way this can be made to look good.

I suspect they couldn't agree and went for a compromise candidate (again).

Sigh :o(

Apparently he was the runner-up to Ratzinger last time, so I don't know why such surprise is being expressed!

Fits Nostradamus (but then, everything can be made to fit Nostradamus!)

The secret of any prophet's success is that everything and nothing can be made to fit.

As the article says, "The evidence is sketchy and contested." There are many questions: Did he actively cooperate? If not, did he stay silent instead of speaking out? And if he did stay silent, was it to protect those he could, by staying in Argentine and keeping a low profile?

Yeah, and I spent a happy hour or so reading the discussion page on Wikipedia (gaining particular amusement from the person who kept trying to insert references to Nostradamus' 'Prophesy of the Popes'.)

The problem, as with all of these things, is that the accusations are anecdotal and the witnesses are now all, apparently, dead. He says it was to help people and keep a low profile, but 'He would say that, wouldn't he'; it would be helpful if some of the people he helped came foward. Also, of course, that is the claim of the Vatican about its contemporary attitude to the Holocaust, though if they were trying to help the victims they didn't have much success. It puts Francis in much the same position as Benedict was in relation to his 'Nazi' past - something which stuck to him like glue.

His passive support of the dictatorship is disputed, but this isn't:

As archbishop of Buenos Aires beginning in 1998 and a cardinal since 2001, he frequently tangled with Argentina’s governments over social issues. In 2010, for example, he castigated a government-supported law to legalize marriage and adoption by same-sex couples as “a war against God.”

It would just be par for the course if he opposed same-sex couples as a matter of religious doctrine, but using war-on-God rhetoric to make demands of secular law is much uglier.

Though apparently his attempted interference with secular law in Argentina actually turned people against him! Once he had spoken the support for marriage equality went up. Also, Argentina is one of the many places where church attendance is falling, though his election to the papacy may give it a temporary boost.

Benedict's attempt to interfere with secular law also backfired here in the UK (where the percentage of practising Catholics is even lower than the church will admit), in Spain, in France and even in Italy. I'm not sure he even tried in his homeland of Germany.

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