Regarding the Sept. 8 book review titled “The murky past of Pope Francis: Is he really so humble?“: There are loads of things wrong with the allegations made against Pope Francis by Paul Vallely, author of the book “Pope Francis: Untying the Knots,” and by Hugh O’Shaughnessy in his review of the book.

As Jorge Mario Bergoglio, former superior of Argentina’s Jesuits, the Holy Father and his fellow Jesuits are accused by O’Shaughnessy of having “outrageously kept their silence over the 30,000 dead” who lost their lives in Argentina’s “Dirty War.” Rather than engaging in O’Shaughnessy’s politically correct but ineffective idea of “speaking out,” though, Bergoglio actually did something substantive — he worked behind the scenes helping people to flee the brutal military regime. This has been confirmed by Alicia Oliviera, an Argentine judge who says Bergoglio was highly critical of the regime, and by the very people who escaped with the future Pope’s help.

Vallely’s book appeals to the “evidence” of Horatio Verbitsky, who accuses the Holy Father of having been “passive in front of the crimes of the day.” Verbitsky ought to know something about crimes; as a former member of a leftist Argentine Dirty War-era terrorist group, he participated in numerous attacks killing civilians; he’s a free man today only because of statute-of-limitations laws. Verbitsky’s credibility is thus questionable to say the least, as is Vallely’s for citing him.

Numerous Argentine jurists and human-rights activists, including Nobel Prize-winner Adolfo Perez Esquivel, have declared Pope Francis innocent regarding the Dirty War. Literally within hours of his election to the papacy in March, Pope Francis was being connected to his home country’s tragic past by people with ideological anti-Catholic agendas. The facts revealed these accusations to be “dead on arrival,” and it’s a shame that “journalists” like Vallely and O’Shaughnessy are now trying to resuscitate them.

ken foye
muroran, hokkaido

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

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