Meet Augusto Pinochet, Chilean dictator from 1973-1990. Not a very nice guy.
From the beginning, the government implemented harsh measures against its political opponents. According to various reports and investigations 1,200–3,200 people were killed, up to 80,000 were interned, and up to 30,000 were tortured by his regime including women and children.
By the time of his death on 10 December 2006, about 300 criminal charges were still pending against him in Chile for numerous human rights violations, tax evasion, and embezzlement during his 17-year rule and afterwards. Pinochet was accused of having corruptly amassed a wealth of US$28 million or more.
So here we have a guy who solidified his power by killing and otherwise punishing his opponents and who procured extravagant wealth through corrupt means. Because this is so similar to how the Catholic Church secured its power, you can imagine how they’d want to separate themselves from Pinochet. Which they did publicly…however, thanks to wikileaks, we now know that the Holy See told the State Department and Henry Kissinger that they supported Pinochet.
The Vatican once dismissed reports of massacres by Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet as “Communist propaganda”, according to US diplomatic and intelligence documents from the 1970s leaked on Monday.
One cable dated October 18, 1973 sent to Washington by the US embassy to the Holy See relayed a conversation with the Vatican’s then deputy Secretary of State, Giovanni Benelli, the leak by whistleblowing website WikiLeaks showed.
Benelli expressed “his and the pope’s grave concern over successful international leftist campaign to misconstrue completely realities of Chilean situation,” read the cable to then US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.
“Benelli labelled exaggerated coverage of events as possibly greatest success of Communist propaganda,” it said, adding that the Italian monsignor said this showed “how Communists can influence free world media in future”.
And just as recently as 2010 the Catholic Church in Chile was seeking the release of imprisoned accomplices from Pinochet’s regime.
This is incredibly odd behavior if the Catholic Church is representative of a loving god’s will on earth. Of course, stuff like this is exactly what we’d expect to see if the Catholic Church was a political organization interested primarily in its own power, run by corruptible mortals.
I’d ask Mark Shea or Thomas McDonald for an explanation, but they tend to go quiet about stuff like this.