As we’ve seen, the Francis attackers wasted no time claiming he was hand in glove with the junta, betraying priests and lying to human rights investigators. Within an hour of his elections, the denunciations started, based on thinly sourced Wikipedia claims that begin with words like “Some say…” Only problem: they have been proven massively and humiliatingly wrong.
What to do? What to do? Ah! Fish for an outrageously misogynist quote off the internet and circulate it in the hope that nobody will research its origins.
So now we arrive at the Last Gasp Strategy for smearing this fetching and lovely man: Go back to the junta thingie and start whining that he Didn’t Speak Out. The great thing about this strategy–as we have seen with Pius XII, who did Speak Out–is that if it turns out Francis did speak out, you can always complain that he did not Speak Out Enough.
I myself have no idea what Francis had to say during the junta since most of the literature on him is in Spanish and much of what the media has to say is filtered through people looking for dirt. It’s quite possible that he did fail to speak out (the first Pope certainly failed in that department). But right now we are living in a fact-free zone and don’t know that. But, as we have already seen, his enemies will say anything to fill the silence with accusations. Me: I’m content to wait till there is actual information. Meanwhile, I note what we do know: In 2000, according to a report in L’espresso, Bergoglio “asked the entire Church in Argentina to put on garments of public penance for the sins committed during the years of the dictatorship“. That is not, by any means, an acknowledgement of personal guilt in the matter. But it is an acknowledgement of pastoral responsibility for the cleansing of memory and willingness to confront sin. Of course, in our culture which excuses everything and forgives nothing, no mercy will be extended and the dig for dirt will continue. But I think he’s off to a fine start.