Vatican fights back over human rights claims
The vatican has rejected allegations that Pope Francis remained silent during human rights abuses by Argentina's former dictatorship and effectively delivered two priests into the hands of death squads.
The Vatican said the claims were baseless and defamatory. Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, said they were part of a "left-wing, anti-clerical" conspiracy and were "clearly and firmly denied".
The new Pope's actions during the rule of Argentina's military junta, from 1976 to 1983, when 30,000 people died or disappeared, are shrouded in controversy. The most damning claim is that he withdrew his support for two priests, thereby sanctioning their abduction by the navy in 1976. The two Jesuits, Orlando Yorio and Francisco Jalics, were working in the slums when they were kidnapped. Fr Jalics (left) now 86, yesterday broke years of silence to say that he was reconciled with the new pontiff, but declined to absolve him of the charge of failing to protect them.
Fr Yorio, who is now dead, later accused Bergoglio of effectively delivering them to the death squads by declining to publicly endorse their work. (© Daily Telegraph, London)