Argentina’s cardinal elected Pope Francis

Benedict XVI, born Joseph Ratzinger, shocked the Catholic world when he announced his resignation on 28 February. The last Pope to resign was Pope Gregory XII in 1415 to end the Great Western Schism (1414–1418) during which there were rival claims to the papal throne. Benedict’s successor, Pope Francis, now ushers in a new era.

Described as a humble and reticent man, Pope Francis, then known as Father Jorge Bergoglio, has only disclosed a small part of his personal life. For some this is proof of his humility. In a meeting with journalists, Pope Francis explained that he wanted a “Church that is poor and for the poor.”

But many in his home country see this as a means to conceal from others the role he played during the brutal military dictatorship from 1976 to 1983. As the new spiritual leader of the Catholic Church, these are pressing allegations.

As the military junta committed acts of murder, imprisonment and torture, those that did not explicitly choose sides were also likely to fall victim to its terror. The question of atonement for Catholic errors is sensitive because it implies fallibility in the church’s depiction of its truth. Regarding dictatorships and the history of Vatican soldiers, the Church has historically been acquiescent to breaches of Christian values.

This poses the question: What price are we willing to pay for our beliefs?

This is the central question posed by Charles A. Coulombe in his book The Pope’s Legion.

For a review of The Pope’s Legion see: Charles A. Coulombe’s The Pope’s Legion

Order this book online



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