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Bergoglio's List: How Pope Francis helped victims escape Argentina's dictatorship

2013-10-05

The election of Cardinal Bergoglio as Pope triggered a lot of rumors. They all pointed at the same episode in Bergoglios life: his alleged collaboration with Argentinas military dictatorship during the 70s and the 80s.  

NELLO SCAVO
Journalist
"I wanted to research on this topic because it seemed interesting. In the beginning I thought 'Oh, my God, the Cardinals had it wrong, what have they done?' The night after the first day of research, the accusations stumbled. I told my newspaper that I wanted to keep working on this story, with all the risks it implied. After all, we could find evidence or strong accusations against Bergoglio.”

This book, titled after the movie "Schindler's List,” is the result of his six-month research. Nello Scavo found out that the accusations against the Pope were far away from the truth: In fact, he gathered evidence and met people that assured him that Pope Francis secretly saved them from Argentina's military repression.

NELLO SCAVO
Journalist
"One of  first people Bergoglio saved is currently living in Rome and doesn't want to be identified. He was one of his doubles. They looked very much alike and Bergoglio, not knowing how to help him, dressed him up as a priest and gave him his own ID. He then crossed the border to Brazil. This is probably the first person Bergoglio helped out of instinct.”

The only person that knows all the details of what happened those years is the one most reluctant to help in the investigation: Pope Francis himself. He has never answered the attacks from the media, more so after he was chosen Pope.

NELLO SCAVO
Journalist
"Some priests and bishops in 2006 and 2007, 30 years after the fall of the military government, discovered what Bergoglio had done and went to ask him why he had never talked about it. He's always preferred to remain silent. One of the reasons I believe is that Bergoglio, due to his psychology and Jesuit background, prefers not to feed any controversy from those years, that are already in the past and were painful. It is not his style to introduce himself as a kind of Superman that faced those dangers during those years because there are people that suffered more than him.”

Scavo's investigation is not finished yet. So far he's discovered that the Pope helped more than a hundred people escape the repression, and that his methods improved with time. But people saved by the Pope keep turning up and adding their experience to the history of what really happened back then.


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