There’s a hilarious scene in the life of St. Athanasius when his enemies trump up a murder charge against him. He’s put on trial and, at a dramatic moment, calls forth his one witness to testify on his behalf. The witness comes forward, throws back his cowl–and it turns out to be the alleged victim of the murder. Wah wah wah waaaaaaaah. Epic fail for the prosecution.
I’m reminded of that because last week, within, like, an hour of Francis’ election there were trolls in my combox who had instantly moved from “Jorge who?” to “I am an an expert on Bergoglio and I denounce his cooperation with the Argentine military junta! He betrayed priests to the regime!!! I AM OUTRAGED…. OUUUUUTRAAAAAAAAAGED!!!!! (See this Wikipedia link. It proves all. Let me reiterate both my expertise and extremely righteous moral dudgeon that isn’t grasping for any excuse to condemn him or anything. And may I repeat: I AM OUTRAGED…. OUUUUUTRAAAAAAAAAGED!!!!!”
Yeah. About that entirely charitable episode from anonymous combox cowards. Here’s the thing: John Allen looked into that eight years ago and asked Amnesty International what was what. AI replied, “No there there.” That should have put the boots on it right there. But now, in a turn of events that would make Athanasius clap and giggle….
What do you think the odds are that the combox accusers will come forward and apologize?
Yeah, me neither. But let’s hope they at least reconsider their eagerness to condemn him.