15-March-2013 -- Vatican Information Service |

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Response To Accusations Against Bergoglio In Argentina

Vatican City, 15 March 2013 (VIS) - At this afternoon's press conference, Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J., director of the Holy See Press Office read a statement responding to allegations made against Bergoglio in Argentina. It states:

"The campaign against Bergoglio is well-known and dates back to many years ago. It has been made by a publication that carries out sometimes slanderous and defamatory campaigns. The anticlerical cast of this campaign and of other accusations against Bergoglio is well-known and obvious."

"The charges refer to the time before Jorge Mario Bergoglio became bishop [of Buenos Aires], when he was Provincial Superior of the Jesuits in Argentina and accuse him of not having protected two priests who were kidnapped."

"This was never a concrete or credible accusation in his regard. He was questioned by an Argentinian court as someone aware of the situation but never as a defendant. He has, in documented form, denied any accusations."

"Instead, there have been many declarations demonstrating how much Bergoglio did to protect many persons at the time of the military dictatorship. Bergoglio's role, once he became bishop, in promoting a request for forgiveness of the Church in Argentina for not having done enough at the time of the dictatorship is also well-known."

"The accusations pertain to a use of historical-sociological analysis of the dictatorship period made years ago by anticlerical elements to attack the Church. They must be firmly rejected."

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