Rorate Caeli

Bergoglio's practical attitude towards Liberation Theology - and a note

Provincial Sup. Bergoglio and
novice Mom Debussy
Miguel Ignacio Mom Debussy is an Argentine citizen - it is unclear what he does for a living now, but he is a descendant of the most powerful landowning family (the Pueyrredon family) in a historically agrarian country. What he is famous for, however, is for what he was: a Jesuit for 14 years, and a priest for a couple of years, and very close to Fr. Jorge Mario Bergoglio during most of that time, apparently even working as a kind of secretary/driver. He left the priesthood, and the Society, officially in 1990, and now says he is "agnostic" - and obviously does not like his former friend.

He granted an extensive interview to Italian website Linkiesta - wanting to be clearly critical, but providing instead precious and good information on the new pope. The main focus of the interview is on how Fr. Bergoglio acted during the last Argentine dictatorship, mostly in the line of "he could/should have done more".*** Mom Debussy mentions many aspects that indicate a general distrust of Bergoglio in the Society in Argentina. But one of his most relevant answers is the following:

What was the position Bergoglio had then regarding Liberation Theology?
Completely against it. In fact, as Theology students, we had never studied a single book by, for instance, Gustavo Gutiérrez, one of the founders of Liberation Theology, of by [Leonardo] Boff, or by Paulo Freire, with his studies on an education that is not a cultural "dependency" [of the "imperialistic powers"]. In Philosophy, we had read little, very little, of Heidegger and Kierkegaard, one single chapter of Thus Spoke Zarathustra... Not to mention Marx, Engels, Sartre, Foucault, the Post-Moderns, etc. Nothing that could contradict Catholic doctrine or dogmas. All that under strict orders of Jorge Bergoglio.

***Rorate note: Right in the middle of the upheaval that agitated Argentina in the 1960s and 1970s, with great violence from both sides - initiated first by Communist and Liberation-theology-inspired terrorist organizations-, a Church that had once been deeply traditional but was now battered by the winds of Vatican II and the Medellín Conference was apparently falling apart. Very few managed to keep their calm, and that certainly seems to have been the case of the Provincial Superior of the Jesuits in 1973-1979, Fr. Jorge Mario Bergoglio, though it was not the case of many of his colleagues in the Society of Jesus, who still criticize him for never having "criticized or opposed the government" (see). He did not, and that is actually to his great merit.


Anonymous said...

"In Philosophy, we had read little, very little, of Heidegger and Kierkegaard, one single chapter of Thus Spoke Zarathustra... Not to mention Marx, Engels, Sartre, Foucault, the Post-Moderns, etc. Nothing that could contradict Catholic doctrine or dogmas. All that under strict orders of Jorge Bergoglio."

Humm..........may be he will be a good pope....I am starting to consider it.
Luiz (Brazil)

Still Johannes de Silentio said...

Kierkegaard, of course, wasn't a Catholic (although Karl Barth once said he would have surely become one had he lived longer), and his denigration of reason is surely not Thomistic, but I really don't think he deserves to be lumped together with the rest of that wicked group. The works published under his name, rather than his pseudonymous writings, are often quite penetrating and completely compatible with the Church's teaching. I think his meditation on the idea that love is the fulfilling of the law in Works of Love is one of the finest things I have ever read. When I later read Liberalism is a Sin, the chapter on Charity and Liberalism reminded me immediately of Kierkegaard. So, true, philosophically we can't be Kierkegaardians, but there is much of his work that is worth reading.

Yaxwitz said...

The "Rorate note" nauseated me. Are you justifying the military dictatorships in Agentina? Have you ever lived in a country struck by repressive dictatorships (conservative or liberal)? Have you experienced the horror of a civil war?

I'm from Guatemala, and there the military dictatorships of the 70's and 80's killed many priests because they considered them to left-oriented, even they were very conservative but they were doing some kind of social labor (feeding the hungers, educating the poor), but that was to much for the military dictators.

It is to simple to say "it's Vatican II's fault".

New Catholic said...

No, we are trying to say it is much more complex than what you and those like you want to convey, and that the Pope passed with honors through that trial.

Lopes said...

Leftist clergy are just social workers. I'm Brazilian, another country with a dictatorship in the 60's, 70's and, 80's and I can tell you that the military harassed those with 'sympathy' towards the communists. So, with no hesitation, I say that the Church was much better off in dictatorship from the right than under the communists. The Church is not for the 'poor,' it is for sinners. Unfortunately, the Latin American clergy is full of communists and sympathizers. Yes, the military in the region murdered a few thousand but their crimes pale compared to
Cuba and Fidel. If the Pope did not engage more with the regime to protect communist agitators, I believe he did the right thing.

Jack Gates said...

I read the article in the Argentine daily and was struck by two lines.
One in which he asked the Nuncio to say Mass in Latin.
The other was the incident in which he made the new Provincial kneel and recite the Oath against Modernism.
Both of these incidents are recounted with much derision as would be expected by these liberal Jesuits.
"The oath was from Pius X and had fallen into complete disuse."
LOL Really? You don't say?
Jack in KC

Anonymous said...

The bergoglio of those years wasn't the same as the one of today. He was confined in Cordoba and in those times he was the spiritual father and confessor of a very conservative priest (father Roberto Yanuzzi) who later founded the Miles Christi group. Bergoglio changed in many aspects and left that priest. He was a completely diffenrent person when appointed auxiliar bishop of buenos aires. He never really explained this change, but made himself very clear that during his reign in the archdioceses nobody would dare to be labeled as "conservative" and live happily in a parish without consequences.
Argentinian Guy

Anonymous said...

Yes, Argentine guy. Moreover, Bergoglio prohibited (de facto) Miles Christi Institute to have presence in Buenos Aires. MC is a staunchly orthodox religious institute; its priests use black cassock (something unbearable for Bergoglio) and their NO Masses are chanted ad orientem.
MC has presence in a few dioceses in Argentina (La Plata, San Luis) and has settled quite well in USA, were. Cardinal Burke is very fond of them (there is an interview in You Tube were Burke praises MC). Burke praises them and they were welcome in St. Louis. While Bergoglio persecuted them out of Buenos Aires (like many other priests whose sin was to wear cassock and preach clearly the Traditional True Faith).
Antonio Lara from Buenos Aires

Justice said...


Ah - , that explains many things.... Thank´s!

Common Sense said...

Verious negative opinions about H.H. Francis which unfold as the time goes by, should also be supported by evidence for refference purposes. We are free however to form our opinion based on his manifest conduct as pope.It'll still take time to objectively evaluate both his person and his pontificate. He is an enigma to me.

still skeptical said...

I am curious about the 1986-1992 years. The Vatican site bio skips specificity for these years whereas all the other notations are to the exact day. If he went to Germany in 86 and was sent back the same year without finishing his doctorate - why? What happened? Why was he "exiled" to Cordoba only to return elevated to bishop in BA?

I think that we need to know what occurred during those 6 years. There appears to be obfuscation for that time period. I think uncovering that will be clarifying.

Anonymous said...

Still skeptical,
these are my two cents. Cardinal Aramburu, archbishop of buenos aires before Card. Quarracino, never liked him for reasons not very clear. But you have to remember, the company of Jesus was heavily involved with the leftists and felt the mighty power of the military "Junta" once they assume control of the country (Videla times and after). Bergoglio was among those conservative priests (believe it or not) and fell from grace from the company. During those times in cordoba, where not even the Jesuit hierarchy liked him, he grew this fame of spirituality and frugality. He had a "fame" for that, and I remember comments about this great spiritual man (also conservative, something truly amazing in buenos aires in those times). archbishop Quarracio, a conservative bishop for the most part, liked him and eventually rescued him from Cordoba, recommending him for Auxiliary bishop with the right to succeed him. Cordoba times were times deeply mingled in bad politics, secular and ecclesiastical alike.
Argentinian Guy

Matt said...

Common Sense said, "Various negative opinions about H.H. Francis which unfold as the time goes by, should also be supported by evidence for reference purposes. We are free however to form our opinion based on his manifest conduct as pope. It'll still take time to objectively evaluate both his person and his pontificate. He is an enigma to me."

Common Sense, what kind of "evidence" do you need? What would you like to see? Do you think these statements are made in a vacuum? The Holy Father may be an enigma to you but I hope you're still not waiting for the bus long after it's already left.

Common Sense said...

Not to worry Matt. My scepticism is 10 times bigger than my ego. I would be the last among the last ones to give even slightest hint of credit to any conciliar pope, unless there's life and death scenario. I just wont to sift out facts from opinions That's all. There's a lot of cotraversy surroundig H.H. Francis.

One who was there said...

Argentina in 1972-1973 was a mad, mad world. A Leftist extremist called General Peron returned from Spain. At the airport hundreds of Labor Union Organizers were killed by machine gun shots from other Peronista agitators. The result was chaos. The University was given to the Montoneros, a Marxist Peronista group in tune with Liberation Theology. They fired all university professors and reinstated some and others they replaced with Peronist Marxists. As soon as Peron landed the figurehead presidente called Cámpora resigned in his favor calling for new elections. Peron (gracias a Dios) then died and his second wife, chorus girl Isabelita Peron, gained power under the influence of an Argentine Sorcerer called López Rega. It was them that started the massive disappearances of political enemies that were picked up in Ford Falcons without registration plates. A few days later the hundreds of cadavers could be picked up from the dumping grounds of Ezeiza. By the time the military took over Argentina has been a Peronista/Fascist killing field for a long time.

A Prealate that survived that revolutionary time and place is a very different person from what you expect in the USA or Europe. Perhaps Franciso thrived because he was himself a Peronista. But I know of no good Peronistas.

This fratricidal war Francisco had to survive will mark this Papacy. The preferential option for the Peronista shanti towns (villas miseries) will influence the course of Christian Civilization. Thighten your seatbelts.

Alberto said...

The relation between many priests, nuns, and catholics with the marxist guerrilla in Guatemala is farly proved, liberation theology its still causing devastating efects in Guatemala. Nobody here is justifyng violence and murder (which by the way was also comited by guerrillas) or dictatorship.
This is a doctrinal matter, politics has nothing to do here. I'm also from Guatemala