When Benedict XVI was pope, the New York Times ran a scurrilous, distortion-infested campaign intended to link the former Joseph Ratzinger with the awful abuse scandals that have so harmed the Catholic Church. These pieces were manifestly dishonest and substance-free when you read them through. But the Times editors know most people don’t read the articles — they read the headlines and the first paragraph.
So this morning, the pseudo-journalists at the Times began their campaign of lies against the new pope, Francis, under the damning (and damnable) headline: “Starting a Papacy, Amid Echoes of a ‘Dirty War’”:
One Argentine priest is on trial in Tucumán Province on charges of working closely with torturers in a secret jail during the so-called Dirty War, urging prisoners to hand over information. Another priest was accused of taking a newborn from his mother….Another clergy member offered biblical justification for the military’s death flights, according to an account by one of the pilots anguished about dumping drugged prisoners out of aircraft and into the sea.
As he starts his papacy, Francis, until this month Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the archbishop of Buenos Aires, faces his own entanglement with the Dirty War, which unfolded from 1976 to 1983. As the leader of Argentina’s Jesuits for part of that time, he has repeatedly had to dispute claims that he allowed the kidnapping of two priests in his order in 1976, accusations the Vatican is calling a defamation campaign.
This is just despicable, isn’t it? Lead with examples of some priests who were wicked then segue into a paragraph about the pope to make it sound like he was one of them. Really — for shame.
Reading more deeply into the story — which I did so you don’t have to — we learn that the pope’s “entanglement,” involved hiding fugitives from the government bad guys, pleading for the release of two priests, and helping one guy who looked like him escape by lending him his papers and a priest get-up. Which last is actually pretty cool. Go, Pope.