Investigation requested by Bergoglio reveals Argentine martyrs killed in the 1970s

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Between 2008 and 2009, the then Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio received a list drafted by an archbishop with the names of more than a hundred people killed for their faith in Argentina in the 1970s.

In Buenos Aires, years later, at an annual meeting organized on Holy Tuesday by the Community of Sant'Egidio to commemorate modern-day martyrs, Cardinal Bergoglio made the following request to Marco Gallo, a professor at the Catholic University of Buenos Aires.

Autor, “In the eye of the storm”

In one of these ceremonies, he gave me this letter where Monsignor Giaquinta had written this list. He told me, “Perhaps it would be good if you work with the community of Sant'Egidio and further develop this work.”

The fruit of this research was the book: “In the eye of the storm.” It journeys through the lives of religious men and women, bishops, lay people and catechists who were killed during the religious persecution of Christians under the last military dictatorship in Argentina.

Autor, “In the eye of the storm

To help people know the story of these people who, in a time of great political polarization, courageously lived a life dedicated to the Gospel, giving their lives in search of a unity that seemed impossible due to the political tension in the country.

In April 2019, Pope Francis spoke about beatifying some of them, specifically, those known as the “martyrs of La Rioja.”

Enrique Angelelli, diocesan bishop; Carlos de Dios Murias, Conventual Franciscan; Gabriel Longueville, Fidei Donum priest; and Wenceslao Pedernera, catechist and family man. These martyrs of the faith were persecuted because of their evangelical justice and charity.

In the prologue of the book, Pope Francis reflects on these martyrs and, particularly, on Bishop Angelelli, a man he knew. The Pope describes him as “a man in love with his people,” and recalls his visit with the bishop in 1973. He recounts the affection with which Bishop Angelelli treated the elderly, the poor and the sick.

Autor, “In the eye of the storm”

Fr. Arrupe, a great visionary, and the provincial, Fr. Bergoglio, went to visit Angelelli at a very difficult time because the landowners had organized a stoning. That is to say, they were throwing stones at poor Bishop Angelelli. They were saying: "You are a communist; you are a revolutionary; you should not be here."
Bergoglio was impressed by the figure of Angelelli—his love for the poor, his love for communion.

The Italian version of this book was presented at the Vatican Film Library with the author present. As the Pope wrote in the prologue, the book's goal is “to know and understand holiness through history, which opens a window not only to Argentina but also to a world of witnesses to the faith who continue to shed their blood.”


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