Jesuit stresses Fr Bergoglio did not betray priests during junta years

Father Franz Jalics SJ

Father Franz Jalics SJ

In the wake of media reports suggesting that when he was bishop in Argentina, during the dictatorship, Pope Francis handed over two priests to the authorities, one of those priests, Father Franz Jalics SJ has firmly repeated his rejection of the story.

He writes: 'Since my statement on 15 March of this year I have received many questions, and this is why I would like to add the following. I feel almost obliged to do so because some commentaries have given the opposite interpretation of what I meant.

'The facts are this: Orlando Yorio and I were not denounced to the authorities by Fr Bergoglio.

'As I made clear in my earlier statement, we were arrested because of a female Catechist who originally worked with us and who later joined the guerilla (due to a faulty translation she was referred to in the previous statement as a man). We did not see her for nine months. Two or three days after her arrest we were subsequently arrested. The officer who interrogated me asked for my documents. When he saw that I was born in Budapest he mistook me for a Russian spy.

'In the Argentine Province of the Jesuits and in church circles incorrect information had been disseminated in the years previously, saying that we had moved into the slums because we belonged to the guerrillas. But that was not the case. My guess is that these rumours are the reason why we were not released.

'Previously I tended to the view that we were victims of a denunciation. At the end of the 1990s, after many discussions, it became clear to me that this assumption was unfounded.

'It is therefore wrong to claim that our capture came about at the instigation of Fr Bergoglio.'

Franz Jalics SJ

Tags: Argentina, Fr Bergoglio, Franz Jalics SJ, Junta, Orlando Yorio

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