18 comments on “Why we English should welcome an Argentinian Pope

  1. Paul, I fail to see the slightest reason to think we should not welcome this Pope. In so far as it has any point at all, and it does not, it seems to be that all Argentinian Catholics are guilty of something. C0llectively.

    What they are guilty of, they do not say. Or rather they did say but they have had to back away from it. To quote their story:

    He recounts how the Argentinian navy hid from a visiting delegation of the Inter-American Human Rights Commission the dictatorship’s political prisoners on an island linked to senior clerics.

    Linked to senior clerics? Linked how?

    • This article was amended on 14 March 2013. The original article, published in 2011, 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 right abuses, he does not make this claim. The original article also wrongly described El Silencio as Bergoglio’s “holiday home”.

    So linked by some Argentinian equivalent of John Pilger, but even that wasn’t enough so they had to make some extra stuff up. All of which they now admit is baseless, but they like the smear too much to let it go.

    However, even if it is true and the Church supports the Junta. So freakin’ what? Terrorism and Peronist incompetence brought democracy down. A coup was the only solution. The violence of the Left made it inevitable. I do not see that the Argentinian military committed any particular grave sin simply because they preferred to shoot terrorists up close and personal instead of by drone. Let those who condemn Obama for running a death-squad-in-the-sky cast the first stone.

  2. SMFS: You’re just trolling aren’t you when you say that all the Junta did was shoot terrorists?

    I would welcome a pope who was publicly and unambiguously on the side of human rights.

  3. When the last pope arrived they, the idiot left claimed he was a NAZI. He was not, similar smearing here.

  4. Ratzinger wasn’t a Nazi, he just quietly went along with it, like many ordinary people.

    But the papacy is not a job for an ordinary person. The pope should be someone with the wisdom to recognize evil when they see it, and the courage to stand against it. Ratzinger is not such a person. Nor, I fear, is Bergoglio.

  5. You should be more concerned about the fact that this pope is staunchly anti “neoliberal”. His opinions on economic policy fall into the Murphy camp.

  6. PaulB – “You-re just trolling aren-t you when you say that all the Junta did was shoot terrorists?”

    Their sole intent was to shoot terrorists. As is Obama-s. I am sure that they got it wrong from time to time – all humans are fallible. As does Obama. I fail to see why it is worse to shoot terrorists up close and personal rather than from a trailer 3,500 miles way.

    “I would welcome a pope who was publicly and unambiguously on the side of human rights.”

    The Papacy has been consistently right on every moral issue this century. They even opposed slavery early. They were against Communism when the Left was praising the Gulag. They were against the Nazis when the Daily Mail were praising them – they even closed down the earliest eugenics programme of mercy killing when the Left was still endorsing euthanasia to improve the species.

    They do not need lectures on human rights from the Left. Especially given the Left-s utter moral failure on all the important moral issues this century.

    7 PaulB – “Ratzinger wasn-t a Nazi, he just quietly went along with it, like many ordinary people.”

    Ratzinger was born in 1927. Making him what? five years old when the Nazis came to power. The bastard! He should have risen up from his cradle to riot in the streets. That would make him 18 when the Nazis fell from power. You are seriously condemning him for not seeking martyrdom?

    “But the papacy is not a job for an ordinary person. The pope should be someone with the wisdom to recognize evil when they see it, and the courage to stand against it. Ratzinger is not such a person. Nor, I fear, is Bergoglio.”

    But you are in no position to judge given you have no special expertise, nor have you shown any particularly impressive track record on spotting evil yourself. What you have got in spades is arrogance and moral self-righteousness in that instead of saying you do not like this Pope because he does not agree with your politics – and he probably does in many regrettable ways – you pretend that you know The Truth and are in a position to judge others. This would be laughable if it was not so contemptible.

  7. OK, you’re not trolling, you’re just wilfully ignorant.

    They even opposed slavery early.

    No they didn’t. Pius IX explicitly approved of slavery even after the US Civil War.

    The papacy was against Communism because it was atheist. So long as the Nazis did not attack the Church, it was roughly neutral on Nazism – Pius XII, before he became pope, negotiated a concordat with the Nazis which ended open Catholic opposition to them. The Papacy never condemned the holocaust, and took no effective action against it.

    Ratzinger’s wartime activities are quite well documented. As I said, they were ordinary. I’m not condemning Ratzinger as a person, but yes, a man qualified to be Pope should have taken personal risks to avoid any sort of collaboration with the Nazis, even as a teenager. It’s a high standard, but there’s only one Pope, the Church could afford to set high standards.

    Tim adds: “OK, you’re not trolling, you’re just wilfully ignorant.”

    Would be a better comment if you understood that it’s, in the theory, God that chooses the
    Pope, not the Church.

  8. PaulB – “OK, you-re not trolling, you-re just wilfully ignorant.”

    Pots and kettles. Given you have shown no signs of understanding even the first thing about the Church this is ridiculous. Not even contemptible.

    “No they didn-t. Pius IX explicitly approved of slavery even after the US Civil War.”

    Is there is lie you won-t use? No he did not. He said that in some circumstances slavery was not absolutely contrary to divine law. If you can find me a single approving statement I would love to see it.

    “The papacy was against Communism because it was atheist.”

    That and the fact it murdered millions. And they opposed it on ideological grounds. Long before anyone else. A lot longer than anyone else too. And more strongly. Unlike the Left which is still soft on Marxist genocide.

    “So long as the Nazis did not attack the Church, it was roughly neutral on Nazism – Pius XII, before he became pope, negotiated a concordat with the Nazis which ended open Catholic opposition to them.”

    Which is rubbish. As even Wikipedia points out. The Catholic Church was a strong opponent of the Nazis right from the start. It is true they signed a Concordat with the Nazis, which the Nazis promptly broke. But then they had a flock to administer to. They had to.

    “The Papacy never condemned the holocaust, and took no effective action against it.”

    What effective action do you think they should have taken? Invaded Germany? Bombed the railway yards? They condemned what they knew about. They saved whomever they could. They did more than most.

  9. PaulB – “Ratzinger’s wartime activities are quite well documented. As I said, they were ordinary.”

    So a child acted like a child and obeyed the law. Shock.

    “I’m not condemning Ratzinger as a person, but yes, a man qualified to be Pope should have taken personal risks to avoid any sort of collaboration with the Nazis, even as a teenager.”

    I love that you feel yourself qualified to comment on this subject. It is absurd that you would not condemn a teenager for murder but you would for obeying the law.

  10. Tim: what’s that got to do with SMFS’s falsehoods about the Argentinian Junta?

    I’m aware of the theory. But, as a learned Catholic replied when the idea was suggested to him:

    I would not say so, in the sense that the Holy Spirit picks out the Pope. . . I would say that the Spirit does not exactly take control of the affair, but rather like a good educator, as it were, leaves us much space, much freedom, without entirely abandoning us. Thus the Spirit’s role should be understood in a much more elastic sense, not that he dictates the candidate for whom one must vote. Probably the only assurance he offers is that the thing cannot be totally ruined…There are too many contrary instances of popes the Holy Spirit obviously would not have picked!

    So the Church doesn’t believe in it, and neither, obviously, do I. Do you?

  11. “…slavery itself, considered as such in its essential nature, is not at all contrary to the natural and divine law,and there can be several just titles of slavery and these are referred to by approved theologians and commentators of the sacred canons. For the sort of ownership which a slave-owner has over a slave is understood as nothing other than the perpetual right of disposing of the work of a slave for one’s own benefit – services which it is right for one human being to provide for another. From this it follows that it is not contrary to the natural and divine law for a slave to be sold, bought, exchanged or donated…”

    Pius IX here was giving Christians in Ethiopia permission to participate in the slave trade.

    What action should the pope have taken against the holocaust? He should have publicly condemned the murder of Jews, and asked Catholics to do everything possible to protect them. He should have forbidden Catholics to be members of the Nazi party. Pius XI might have done some of that, had he lived longer, but Pius XII kept quiet. Cardinal Tisserant wrote in 1940

    …history may be obliged in time to come to blame the Holy See for a policy accommodated to its own advantage and little more.

  12. “The Papacy has been consistently right on every moral issue this century”

    Bloody hell. The whole thing about extremists of right and left being more of a circle than a line is seriously borne out in this one. You realise you sound as literally insane as Neil Clark here?

  13. john b – “Bloody hell. The whole thing about extremists of right and left being more of a circle than a line is seriously borne out in this one. You realise you sound as literally insane as Neil Clark here?”

    What have they been wrong about? They were right to try to end WW1, they were right to oppose Communism, they were right to oppose the Nazis, they were right to oppose Apartheid and condemn racism. What have they been wrong about?

    The fact is they are unpopular and uncool. But in retrospect, everyone else has proven to be a broken reed. They have supported the wrong people at the wrong time and millions have died. The Catholics have been consistently proven right in retrospect.

    If that makes me sound like Neil Clark, fine. It is still true.

  14. PaulB – “what-s that got to do with SMFS-s falsehoods about the Argentinian Junta?”

    Name a falsehood.

    14PaulB – “”From this it follows that it is not contrary to the natural and divine law for a slave to be sold, bought, exchanged or donated…”

    Pius IX here was giving Christians in Ethiopia permission to participate in the slave trade.”

    That is interesting but it is not approval. He is stating the obvious.

    “What action should the pope have taken against the holocaust? He should have publicly condemned the murder of Jews, and asked Catholics to do everything possible to protect them.”

    Had he known what was going on. If he could have done so in safety for the Church as a whole. The Church did in fact stop the earliest euthanasia programme so it is not as if they were passive on the subject.

    Notice no one else condemned the Holocaust either. Even though other people knew more. They had their reasons but for some reason you only condemn the Pope. Roosevelt might have been able to do something about it which the Pope certainly was not.

    “He should have forbidden Catholics to be members of the Nazi party.”

    The Church originally excommunicated members and refused them communion. However the Concordat involved the Church promising to stay out of politics. Which they did. As you would normally demand they do.

    Your criticism remains no more than demanding a lot more of the Church than of anyone else, to condemn acts they knew little or nothing about, that would have endangered the life of the Church as a whole across Europe.

    Everyone knew the Church opposed the Nazis and the Nazis opposed the Church. The Church banned their books, condemned their doctrines, and criticised their ideas. But this is not enough for you. Because nothing ever will be.

  15. Name a falsehood.

    [The Junta's] sole intend was to shoot terrorists

    There’s your (repeated) falsehood. The Junta’s crimes are well documented.

    The Papacy…even opposed slavery early

    “Pius IX here was giving Christians in Ethiopia permission to participate in the slave trade.”

    That is interesting but it is not approval

    The words you are looking for are “sorry, I was wrong”.

    Notice no one else condemned the Holocaust either. Even though other people knew more. They had their reasons but for some reason you only condemn the Pope. Roosevelt might have been able to do something about it which the Pope certainly was not.

    In 1942, the allied powers issued a declaration condemning the “German Policy of Extermination of the Jewish Race”. The Pope was invited to issue a similar proclamation, and refused to do so.

    the Concordat involved the Church promising to stay out of politics. Which they did.

    That’s the “I promised a big boy” defence. Albert Einstein had something to say about it, in conversation with William Hermanns:

    Hermanns: “…A Polish priest horrified by the Nazi invasion of Poland and the reckless murder of Jewish men, women, and children, got his Bishop’s permission to address Pius XII. The Priest travelled to Rome and related how Jews were forced to dig their own mass graves, then lie in them, face down, naked, fifty at a time; after which the Nazi soldiers, perched on either side of the trench, sprayed them with machine gun fire. The Vatican told this priest that he must remain silent, since the Concordat with Hitler (who promised to check Communism) obliged the Church to tread softly.”
    Einstein: “There are cosmic laws, Dr Hermanns. They cannot be bribed by prayers or incense. What an insult to the principles of creation. But remember that for God a thousand years is a day. This power manoeuvre of the Church, these Concordats through the centuries with worldly powers…the Church has to pay for it.”

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