“And Pontiff, pretty Pontiff, can anyone shake your hand?” [updated]
[UPDATE: Since writing this post, the Guardian newspaper, on which the post relied, has redacted its story by Hugh O'Shaughnessy saying “This article was amended on 14 March 2013. The original article, published in 2011, wrongly suggested that Argentinian journalist Horacio Verbitsky claimed that Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio connived with the Argentinian navy to hide political prisoners on an island called El Silencio during an inspection by human rights monitors. Although Verbitsky makes other allegations about Bergoglio’s complicity in human rights abuses, he does not make this claim. The original article also wrongly described El Silencio as Bergoglio’s ‘holiday home’. This has been corrected.”
Chris Trotter’s post Mea Culpa – The Pope Is Not A Fascist explains. And like Trotter, I too offer my Mea Culpa.]
“And Pontiff, pretty Pontiff
can anyone shake your hand ?
Or is it just that you like uniforms
and someone kissing your hand…”
- Lou Reed, “Good Evening, Mr. Waldheim”
From one Pope with a seedy history behind him, to another.
The last, now retired, Pontiff was part of the team covering up his church’s flagrant child abuse, and he stepped down midst rumours that he could face arrest for it if he leaves the Holy See.
The new Pontiff, just appointed, was part of the Argentine clergy’s collaboration with the the Argentinian military regime—in which it “was complicit in dreadful crimes for which not one word of regret has been heard from any senior member of the Argentine clergy”—and it looks like Bergoglio himself, the new Pope Francis I, helped to hide the crimes.
It’s said that in taking the name Francis, “he is drawing connections to the 13th century St. Francis of Assisi, who saw his calling as trying to rebuild the church in a time of turmoil.” The turmoil is richly deserved.
Writing in the Guardian in January, Hugh O'Shaughnessy tells a story that after this new pope’s appointment looks even more grim for the church:
The extent of the church's [and the new pope’s] complicity in the dark deeds was excellently set out by Horacio Verbitsky, one of Argentina's most notable journalists, in his book El Silencio (Silence). He recounts how the Argentine navy with the connivance of Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, [then] the Jesuit archbishop of Buenos Aires [and now the pope], hid from a visiting delegation of the Inter-American Human Rights Commission the dictatorship's political prisoners. Bergoglio was hiding them in nothing less than his holiday home in an island called El Silencio in the River Plate. The most shaming thing for the church is that in such circumstances Bergoglio's name was allowed to go forward in the ballot to chose the successor of John Paul II. What scandal would not have ensued if the first pope ever to be elected from the continent of America had been revealed as an accessory to murder and false imprisonment…
What scandal will now?
Fact is, the more one sees of this church’s hierarchy, the more one realises they are barely human.
Bear in mind that this is a church that thinks itself fit to make judgement on what is and is not moral; to bestow upon others either shame or praise for acts it deems to be good; to hold itself up as a model—sorry, the model—of virtue and rectitude; to give moral guidance to you and I.
Moral guidance from moral pygmies. What could be more uplifting!
And every good catholic knows, or should know, that it doesn’t matter at all what you think on any moral issue: the whole point of the catholic church is to tell you what to think. Perhaps it takes an atheist to point this out…
[Hat tip History News Network]