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Vatican: There's No Evidence Pope Helped Junta

Allegations from Argentina dog Pope Francis
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 15, 2013 1:03 PM CDT
Vatican: There's No Evidence Pope Helped Junta
In this 1973 photo released by the El Salvador School, priest Jorge Mario Bergoglio, right, and priest Pedro Arupe give a Mass at the church in the El Salvador school in Buenos Aires, Argentina.   (AP Photo/El Salvador School)

(Newser) – The Vatican today addressed the whispers that the new pope seemed to get along with Argentina's military dictatorship in the '70s. "There has never been a credible, concrete accusation against him," nor was he ever charged with anything, a Vatican spokesman said today, according to the BBC. The spokesman attributed the controversy to "anti-clerical left-wing elements that are used to attack the Church." Jorge Bergoglio led Argentina's Jesuits during the junta's rule, and was accused of allowing the military government to abduct two priests in 1976.

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A book by an Argentine investigative journalist accused Bergoglio of withdrawing the order's protection from the two priests when they refused to stop visiting slums. The journalist, it should be noted, is close with Argentina's president, a frequent political foe of the cardinal. Berboglio addressed the incident in his own biography. "I warned them to be very careful," he told his biographer of the two priests. "They were too exposed to the paranoia of the witch hunt. Because they stayed in the barrio, Yorio and Jalics were kidnapped." (Read more Jorge Bergoglio stories.)

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