Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Catholic Church and the Military Dictatorship: the Von Wernich case

In Argentina Catholic Priest, Christian Von Wernich, was sentenced to life in prison following his conviction for involvement in the murder of seven people as well as other acts commited in conjuction with the military government.

In 1976 a military coup ushered in the era of the Argentine Military dictatorship which from 1976-1983 waged what has been called the "Dirty War" in which an estimated 30,000 people were "disappeared', tortured and killed. The victims were leftists, students, families of the disappeared and anyone whom the government considered subversive. Recently the perpetratorsof these crimes, the torturers, kidnappers and assasins many military men, many trained by the US government have been arrested and put in jail. Now Roman Catholic Priest Christian Von Wernich has been found guilty of murdering 7 people and in aiding the military junta to disappear individuals. Wernich apparently would pass on information from confessions to military police.

During the trial Argentine Nobel Peace prize laureate, Adolfo Perez Esquivel, himself a prisoner under military rule declared in court that he had told Pope John Paul II personally that the military was kidnapping the babies of women prisoners. "The Pope put down the information I'd given him," he said. "Then he told me: 'You also have to think about the children living in communist countries."

Just one more reason to reject religion
(do you need more?)

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