'Bergoglio didn't give us up,' Jalics
Francisco Jalics, one of the two Jesuit priests kidnapped during the last military dictatorship came forward to assure that Pope Francis never gave him up to the junta authorities.
“These are the facts: Orlando Yorio and I were never given up by Jorge Bergoglio (now Pope Francis)” Jalics said in a written statement posted on the German Jesuits website.
Soon after Bergoglio’s election, accusations came to light in which some said that Bergoglio had failed to protect Jalics and Yorio, both members of his congregation, who were kidnapped and tortured in 1976.
In that year, Bergoglio was the provincial superior of the Jesuits in Argentina and the kidnapped priests – released a few months later – belonged to his order.
Jalics, who now lives in a spiritual house in Alta Franconia, in Bavaria, said “it is false to assume that our kidnappings” were a result of Bergoglio’s actions.
“I used to think we had been victims of an accusation. But by the late 90s, after many conversations, it was clear to me that I was wrong,” he said.
Jalics also explained that he and Yorio were kidnapped for their connection to a catechist who worked with them and “later joined the guerrilla.”
“We didn’t see her for nine months, but two or three days after her detention we were also arrested. The officer who questioned me asked for my ID. When he saw that I had been born in Budapest he thought I was a Russian spy.”
The Vatican rejected the accusations made against Pope Francis and said they were part of a smear campaign.
In his first statements, Jalics admitted that he didn’t talk about what happened with Bergoglio until many years after leaving Argentina.
“Then we celebrated mass together and hugged each other. I’ve made peace with what happened. Case closed,” he concluded.