Special report: the DAMNING evidence:
Priest said Pope spread rumours and made him target of death squads
Claimed Pope also told regime he collaborated with guerrillas
Report says priests seized by 200 armed troops, drugged, tortured and held for fives months then dumped half naked in a field
Pope Francis denies claims he was in league with the generals
Damning evidence that Pope Francis may have betrayed two priests who were kidnapped and tortured by Argentina’s brutal military junta can be revealed today.
The Mail on Sunday has seen documents which appear to show the new Pope secretly collaborated with the country’s dictatorship when he was head of the Jesuits there – using his real name Jorge Bergoglio – during the Dirty War that started in the Seventies.
One of the documents is a 27-page report by Orlando Yorio, one of the kidnapped priests, in which he accuses the current pontiff of secretly spreading dangerous rumours about him and a colleague while personally promising them support and protection.
A second document is a confidential government memo written in 1979 which appears to reveal Bergoglio informed junta officials that Father Yorio and Father Francisco Jalics were suspected of collaborating with guerrillas and that Jalics was accused of encouraging dissent among a congregation of nuns.
Bergoglio, 76, who was chosen as the new Pope on Wednesday, has been accused of effectively handing the priests over to the regime’s death squads by failing to quash rumours they were dissidents.
The two men were suspected of collaborating with guerrillas because of their work among the poor in Buenos Aires slums. Shortly before they were seized they were dismissed from the Jesuit order by Bergoglio.
Yorio wrote in his report: ‘Rumours emerged about our participation with the guerrillas. As things were in Argentina, a claim like that coming from important mouths (as the Jesuits are) could, plain and simply, signify our death.
‘The forces of the extreme Right had already machine-gunned a priest in his house and had kidnapped, tortured and left for dead another. Both of them were living in poor towns. We had received various warnings along the lines that we should take care. Father Jalics had personally spoken with several Jesuits to warn them of the situation and make them take note of the danger. He had also spoken about this with Father Bergoglio, making him see above all that my life had been put in serious danger.
‘That month of December , given the continuing rumours about my participation with the guerrillas, Father Jalics spoke seriously again with Father Bergoglio. [He] recognised the seriousness of the situation and promised to put a stop to the rumours and to hurry up and speak to people from the armed forces to testify our innocence.’
Yorio claims Bergoglio not only failed to quash the rumours, he actively spread them among Jesuits. He wrote: ‘We began to suspect his honesty.’
According to Yorio’s account, Bergoglio wrote a letter to Argentinian Archbishop Miguel Raspanti outlining serious accusations against the two priests. It is not clear if Bergoglio was making the allegations himself, or passing on accusations made by others.