Roman Catholic

Trial Transcript Reveals Pope's Version of Role Under Junta

What he says he did, and didn't, do


Bergoglio's 2010 testimony offers his take on events. Prior to the coup, he said he had given Yorio and Jalics permission to work in the Bajo Flores slum. The two priests, who practiced liberation theology, saw their life mission as alleviating the plight of the poor. Bergoglio testified at trial that "every priest that worked with the poor was a target for suspicion and accusation from some sectors," but as a "Jesuit brother" of the priests, he wanted to do what he could to help them "continue working." Bergolgio testified that Yorio and Jalics told him several times that they thought they were in danger. He also recalled that he was pressured from inside the church to dissolve the religious community where Yorio and Jalics worked and transfer the priests elsewhere in the church, though he claimed it was for organizational reasons, not ideological ones. Bergoglio was also questioned about allegations that Yorio's ministerial license had been revoked several days before the kidnapping, another alleged signal to the military that the priests were fair game. He disputed this account, saying, "I don't believe that their licenses were suspended." As evidence, Bergoglio said that the priests continued to work in the slum, which they would not have been permitted to do "if their licenses had been formally suspended."