When an Islamophile Bergoglio attacked Ratzinger
by Fausto Carioti
A story which happened in Buenos Aires eight years ago helps us to understand the position adopted by Pope Francis regarding the ISIS, the “Islamic State” which has embarked on a merciless hunt against Christians. Avoiding, as always, naming Islam and fanatic Muslims, Jorge Mario Bergoglio, invited “stopping the unjust aggressors” without “any bombing” or “starting a war”. A choice which does not seem to leave escape for the victims and for this judged sterile by many: believers (including Antonio Socci from these columns) and non-believers (the case of Massimo Cacciari).
In reality this intervention is perfectly in line with the ideas that Bergoglio expressed many years ago: always characterized by appeasement, and accommodating to those that the Pope, even recently, called “our Muslim brothers”. The most sensational episode goes back in fact to 2006, immediately after the discourse held by Joseph Ratzinger in the aula magna at Regensburg on September 12. On that occasion the German Pope had cited the Byzantine Emperor Manuel II: “Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.” Words, explained Ratzinger, that he used “to underline the essential relationship between faith and reason”, and which did not imply an identical condemnation of Islam by the Pope. However this academic and theological subtlety was not understood by the Islamic world, which then, en-bloc attacked Ratzinger, who was also threatened with death.
The pontiff was hit, however, chiefly by accusations launched from some exponents in the Church. Among these, the then-Archbishop of Buenos Aires. The future Pope did not speak in person. It was Father Guillermo Marcó, spokesman for Bergoglio. Speaking to the Argentine edition of the weekly “Newsweek”, he used extremely harsh tones: saying that Ratzinger’s declarations had been “unfortunate”. And more: “I do not identify with the Pope’s words. I would have never used that citation.” Concluding with: “If the Pope does not recognize the values of Islam and it is left like that, in twenty seconds we will have destroyed everything that has been built over the last twenty years.”
It was Marcó who spoke, but everyone knew that those sentences corresponded to the thought of his superior. So, while the Pope was defending his reasons before the Islamic world, one of the most influential voices in the Latin-American Church, in fact, sided with the Muslims. Words “unheard of” those of Bergoglio’s spokesman, so much so, that inside the Leonine Walls “for a while it was all the talk,” a Monsignor said to Clarín, one of the main daily newspapers in Argentina. Confronted with the scandal, Marcò sustained that he had said those things not as press agent for Bergoglio, but in quality as President of the Institute for Interreligious Dialogue, another office covered by him. A justification hard to believe, so much so that Rome put pressures on the Archbishop in order that he distance himself from him. “How is it possible that your spokesman made such declarations and Bergoglio did not feel bound to contradict him and remove him immediately?” a Vatican source asked Clarin. The priest, nevertheless, remained in his place. He was substituted some months* later, when a Minister of Internal Affairs, evidently considered more important than Benedict XVI, asked for his head for other reasons.
In the meantime, the Vatican had taken away one of Bergoglio’s men, the Jesuit Joaquín Piña, from the position of Bishop of Puerto Iguazú: Piña had given declarations similar to Marcó's to the press. The English daily The Telegraph, reconstructing the incident, recounts that Rome warned Bergoglio that he would have also been removed if he had continued to delegitimize Ratzinger. And Bergoglio reacted by cancelling the trip that would have taken him to the Synod convoked by the Pope. But the story didn’t end there. On February 22, 2011, the Apostolic Nuncio in Argentina, Archbishop Adriano Bernardini, precisely in Buenos Aires delivered a fiery sermon against Ratzinger’s enemies. “The Holy Father," he said, “is the victim of a persecution, he has been abandoned by the opponents of the Truth, but above all by certain priests and religious, not only bishops.” Many of whom he was referring to were present there, in the church, right in front of him. Bernardini, today Nuncio in Italy, is not included in Pope Bergoglio’s “book of friends”. [Source]
Antonio Socci comments:
From this news we deduce two important conclusions:
- Through his spokesman, Cardinal Bergoglio attacked Benedict XVI for his masterly discourse in Regensburg, and this makes sense of his present reticence about the Islamic butchers in Iraq. Cardinal Bergoglio attacked the Pope who came under attack from everyone as well as being under threat by the Islamic terrorists, even though - being a Cardinal – he had the particular duty to defend the Holy Father.- I want to speak to all those who are launching anathemas at me today saying, “the Pope can’t be criticized.” What did Bergoglio do? He did it - even as a Cardinal, while the Pope was under threat.
[Translation: Contributor Francesca Romana]
* Note: actually, he was replaced days later, but all Argentine periodicals at the time attributed this to Vatican pressure.