Pope Francis: why critics say he's the wrong man for the job
He's been hailed as the man to reform the Church, but not everyone approves of Jorge Mario Bergoglio
POPES do not enjoy honeymoon periods, it seems. Just hours after being elected as the Catholic Church's first South American leader, Pope Francis has been attacked over a range of issues and alleged misdeeds. Here's what his critics are saying:
He believes the Falkland Islands belong to Argentina During a Mass held in Buenos Aires on April 2 last year marking the 30th anniversary of the Falklands war, Jorge Mario Bergoglio called for the vindication of all of those who fought against the British. Bergoglio said Argentina had been "usurped" by the British. His words suggest that he is "politically aligned" with Argentine president Cristina Kirchner, says The Guardian, despite reports of "frosty relations" between the presidency and the Argentinian church.
He strongly opposes gay marriage and gay adoption Pope Francis has been described as "progressive" on issues of sexuality, but it's hard to see why, say his critics. He is a staunch opponent of abortion, though he has approved of contraception "as a means of preventing disease". In 2010, he wrote a letter to the priests of the Archdiocese of Buenos Aires attacking gay adoption and moves to allow same-sex marriage. Gay adoption is a form of "discrimination" against children, he wrote, and a proposed bill to allow gay marriage was "an attempt to destroy God's plan".
He's not qualified for the job There were few voices of dissent when Bergoglio was elected as Pope, but journalist Marcelo Gonzalez from the Argentine newspaper Panorama Catolico Internacional was utterly indignant. "The Horror! Of all the unthinkable candidates, Jorge Mario Bergoglio is perhaps the worst," he wrote. "Not because he openly professes doctrines against the faith and morals, but because, judging from his work as Archbishop of Buenos Aires, faith and morals seem to have been irrelevant to him."
He engaged in a "complicit silence" when Argentina was ruled by a brutal junta Bergoglio was head of Argentina's Jesuit order from 1973 to 1979. As a result, he was part of the Catholic hierarchy that failed to "openly confront" the 1976-1983 military junta while it was "kidnapping and killing thousands of people in a 'dirty war" to eliminate leftist opponents", says the London Evening Standard. The new Pope has twice invoked his right under Argentine law to refuse to appear in open court in trials involving torture and murder by the junta and the theft of babies from detainees. His critics say he"s motivated by his desire to protect the Church"s image. Not so, says his official biographer, Sergio Rubin. Far from being complicit, the new Pope "took major risks" saving so-called "subversives" during the 1976-1983 dictatorship.
He withdrew support for two priests who were kidnapped and tortured by the junta in 1976 The most serious accusation against Bergoglio involves Orlando Yorio and Francisco Jalics, two young priests who were working in the Buenos Aires slums. Bergoglio says he told them to stop their work for their own safety; Yorio says the Jesuit leader "effectively delivered them to the junta's death squads by declining to publicly endorse their work". The priests were eventually dropped off blindfolded in a field after a "harrowing helicopter ride". Rubin insists that Bergoglio went to "extraordinary" lengths to save the two priests, even making a personal appeal to the feared dictator Jorge Videla. ·