A Jesuit priest whose kidnapping by the Argentine military in 1976 has raised the issue of what role newly named Pope Francis played in that country’s so-called “dirty war” said Friday that he was “reconciled to the events” and wished the pope well, but he did not explicitly absolve the pope of involvement in his detention.
In a statement posted on a website in Germany, where the Rev. Francisco Jalics now lives, Jalics recounted the details of his detention, saying he was held for five months, blindfolded and shackled. At the time, the pope, then the Rev. Jorge Mario Bergoglio, was Jalics’ Jesuit superior.
“I’m unable to comment on the role of Father Bergoglio in this matter,” the statement said.
Jalics’ comments were posted on the same day the Vatican angrily denounced news coverage linking Pope Francis to the dirty war, calling the reports a campaign that “is well-known and dates back to many years ago.”
The Vatican said the campaign is being pushed “by a publication that carries out sometimes slanderous and defamatory campaigns,” an apparent reference to Pagina 12, an Argentine newspaper whose editor, Horacio Verbitsky, has written critically of Pope Francis’ role in the dirty war.