Popes and Dirty Wars
Eduardo Moisés Peñalver March 13, 2013 - 10:09pm
I'm going to take a break from my Lenten "fast" from blogging to just note that it seems likely to me that picking a man as Pope who held a position of authority in the Church in Buenos Aires during Argentina's dirty war seems likely to dredge up some bad memories, and perhaps even a few inconvenient truths. The Church has a lot of ugly secrets in Latin America. Liberation Theology, whatever its flaws, represented -- as a cultural matter -- an historic break with shameful tradition in which church, army and oligarchy stood together to defend an unjust status quo, by any means necessary. Keeping silent or perhaps even working quietly behind the scenes in a few caseswhile thousands were tortured, raped and killed for the crime of demanding political freedom and economic dignity was -- for those in a position to do more -- often a form of complicity. Even that limited intercession raises questions, since it would not have been possible without ties to the murderous regime. To their credit, some in the Argentine hierarchy refused to stay quiet. Our new Pope was not among them. I think we can probably look forward to a steady stream of articles on this issue in the coming weeks and months.
About the Author
Eduardo Moisés Peñalver is the John P. Wilson Professor of Law at the University of Chicago Law School. He is the author of numerous books and articles on the subjects of property and land use law.