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Papal Links

Here are a couple of interesting links to stories about the new pope. The first is from the AP (viaTPM), discussing Francis's low-key style, which John Allen sees as perhaps pointing towards an effort to demystify the office a bit.The second is a link to a thoughtful discussion by Katharine Gordon of the Dirty War on the blog, Millennial Journal, produced in connection with Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good.

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Thanks, Eduardo. The Gordon piece is the best I've seen yet. It is so easy to judge others, and be wrong. Maybe the truth is that while some people are indeed holier than others -- some, like Romero are even saints -- others are still quite holy and to be cherished. It looks to me as if Bergoglio didn't collaborate and sometimes at serious risk to himself he made it possible for others to escape and survive. That might not have been saintly, but it was very virtuous. Yes, I think that we Americans are inclined to think in black and white, rather than in gray -- and blue and green and red, etc. We are a varied race.

Absent any new information, I'm not prepared to judge the new pope against his presence in Argentina during the Dirty War. I suspect I'd have tried, like Francis, to save my own skin and simultaneously help victims, actual and potential, as he apparently did without "ticking off" the government/military authorities. If Francis can do a better job today in Rome, that may be all we can expect from this man: Deal with reality, the ugly reality of the Vatican.

If as provincial, Bergoglio was told/ordered by Arrupe to save the presence of the Jesuit Society in Argentina during the 'dirty war'... he succeeded. As a commander he can't be faulted as failing to personally charge up the hill in a futile attempt to bring down an entrenched enemy. therefore we never condemn infantry Colonels for surviving intense battles. We have heard for thirty years that bishops covered up abuse because they would not betray their priests to the civil authoritiess because the priests were like their sons. So let's dismiss the charges about Bergoglioo betraying his priests to horrors because of some pastoral dispute over their stance toward the poor. . give me a break.

One thing that still bothers me is his past reluctance, years later when this stuff went to trial and there was no longer anything to fear, to give testimony against the junta - he refused twice and only did so in 2010, and then was said to have been evasive.I think this is about ideology - the idea that liberation theology was bad and Marxist by JPII and B16 and other conservatives like Francis, while most of the Jesuits, including priests in his order in Argentina, believed it was Christian in the best sense. I think one of the reasons Francis may have not supported the priests and nuns who were arrested was not fear but a belief they were wrong.Having said that, I'm beginning to really like Francis and have a lot of hope for the future.

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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.