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The Pope is trying to get the convicted mass murderers in Chile released

Paul King | 12.08.2010 00:06 | Repression | Social Struggles | Workers' Movements

The Pope is trying to get the convicted mass murderers in Chile released. This fit with the long standing support by the Catholic Church for any and every fascist dictatorship from Hitler down.

Another reason so support the "Protest the Pope" demonstrations in London.

The Vatican was a full partner in the bloody crimes carried out against the working people in Chile and throughout Latin America under US-backed dictatorships from the 1960s through the 1980s. While thousands of Catholic-educated Latin American students were inspired during this period--at least in part by the teachings of Vatican Council II--to challenge the gross social inequality that prevailed throughout the continent, the church hierarchy fulfilled its historic function as a defender of private property, the state and the military forces of the ruling oligarchies, together with the fundamental interests of US imperialism.

After the coup, the church and the Chilean junta cemented extremely close ties. Indeed, the figure now leading the Vatican's campaign for the former dictator's freedom, Cardinal Sodano, the Vatican's secretary of state, was the Pope's representative in Santiago from 1978 to 1988. He was one of the chief organizers of the Pope's 1988 visit to Chile, during which he gave communion to the dictator and held a personal audience with him in the La Moneda palace, the scene of aerial bombardment and murder just 15 years earlier.

In Argentina there is ample evidence of equally close and sinister ties between the church and the dictatorship. In the aftermath of the 1976 coup in that country, Monsignor Tortolo, president of the Catholic Episcopate, went so far as to compare the military junta with the Easter Resurrection and its chief, General Jorge Videla, with Jesus Christ.

Some of the ex-military torturers who have come forward to testify about the horrors of that period recounted that the church played an instrumental role in keeping the machinery of repression working. Catholic priests were assigned as chaplains to the military units that ran the torture centers and concentration camps where prisoners were subjected to unspeakable tortures.
In places where pregnant women were raped with electric prods and small children had their bones broken one by one in front of their mothers to force confessions and extract information, these chaplains took confessions from Catholic prisoners about to die while reassuring the torturers that their work was both necessary and moral.


Paul King
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