Bergoglio’s ’68, a “Revolution Betrayed”

Bergoglio’s ’68, a “Revolution Betrayed”



Sandro Magister – 2/25/18

In 1968, Jorge Mario Bergoglio was a novice in the Society of Jesus. And now that he is pope he is making no mystery of what he thinks about the “social upheaval,” his own words, of that year which has become legendary. Some of it is already known to the ambassadors accredited to the Holy See, who in the discourse that Francis addressed to them at the beginning of this year had thrown back into their faces precisely what the pope maintains to be the perverse effects of ’68.

It was the first time that Bergoglio had his say over that year, and he got right to the point.

From ’68 onward, he said, the “human rights” proclaimed twenty years earlier by the United Nations, “first of all that of life,” have been ever more violated with impunity: “I think primarily of innocent children discarded even before they are born.”

But not only that. He denounced the fact that since then inroads have been made by “new rights” that are in contrast with the socio-cultural traditions of various countries, and in spite of this have been imposed by force, in a sort of “ideological colonization by the stronger and the wealthier, to the detriment of the poorer and the most vulnerable.”

Against the “right” to abortion Francis was perfectly clear, while on the second complaint, that of “ideological colonization,” he was more cryptic.

But to understand what he meant there, all it takes is to go to the passage of the encyclical “Laudato si’” in which he condemns “international pressure which make economic assistance contingent on certain policies of ‘reproductive health.’”

Or to his broadsides against “so-called gender theory,” which “seeks to cancel out sexual difference because it no longer knows how to confront it,” and therefore is nothing but the miserable byproduct “of frustration and resignation,” and in spite of this is also imposed by rich countries on poor countries.

This is ’68 according to pope Bergoglio. Who neither during that year nor in those after it ever joined demonstrations or sit-ins at universities and factories, but in any case lived out a typically Jesuit and Argentine revolution of his own, for the sake of oppressed people and against the oppressive establishment, gathering from this nothing less than his current judgment on ’68 as a “revolution betrayed,” because in spite of the presumed “new rights,” or rather precisely by virtue of them, it is obvious to him that the poor continue to be oppressed by the rich.

In Argentina, the student and labor uprisings flared up shortly after those in Paris or Los Angeles, in 1969, the year in which Bergoglio celebrated his first Mass, and immediately the militias joined the fray, the Montoneros, who in 1970, when he took his vows, kidnapped and executed former president Pedro Aramburu.

Precociously appointed novice master, the then 34-year-old Bergoglio completely espoused the cause of bringing back Juan Domingo Perón, who in those years was in exile in Madrid. He became the spiritual director of of the young Peronists of the Guardia de Hierro, who had a powerful presence at the Jesuit Universidad del Salvador. And he continued this militancy after his surprise appointment as provincial superior of the Jesuits of Argentina in 1973, the same year in which Perón returned to the country and won his triumphant reelection.

Bergoglio was among the writers of the “Modelo nacional,” the political testament that Perón wanted to leave after his death. And for all of this he drew the ferocious hostility of a good half of the Argentine Jesuits, more leftist than he, especially after he surrendered the Universidad del Salvador, which was put up for sale in order to stabilize the finances of the Society of Jesus, to none other than his friends of the Guardia de Hierro.

It was in those years that the future pope developed the “myth” – his word – of the people as protagonist of history. A word that by its nature is innocent and a bearer of innocence, a people with the innate right to “tierra, techo, trabajo” and that he sees as overlapping with the “santo pueblo fiel de Dios.”

The political program of Francis’s pontificate has its roots precisely in this other personal ’68 of his, the revolution betrayed by the rich and powerful but the torch of which he again wants to lift up high.

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One comment on “Bergoglio’s ’68, a “Revolution Betrayed”

  1. With allowances that now and again throughout its history South and Central America might have, on rare occasions, produced a semi-reasonable society of peaceful intent, here or there, merely brief epochs now lost to recorded history, those regions produced largely savage regimes bent on conquest. Of course, due to the Revolutions of 1517, 1776, 1789 and 1917, Western history has ever calumniated heroic Catholic efforts to convert, educate and bring self sufficiency to these otherwise virulently ungovernable regions. Nevertheless, it is precisely that background, one literally as old as the hills and jungles, that set the stage for the 20th Century’s brutal procession of oppressors and other “men on the make” to exploit.
    Thus, it might be reasonable to argue that Jorge Maria Bergoglio manifested “South Americanism” by inheritance and would have climbed to prominence by the inclinations of cultural temperament alone, whether Peron or the Marxists running the Jesuits ever existed. That each did, of course, affords identifying specific movements to which the future pope inclined himself (although it can be argued he never became a Marxist but rather, as “someone on the way up” in his chosen profession, one able to utilize the sentiments of socialism without being tarred with its excesses and demerits, a program familiar to Democrat pols in the U.S. since FDR. )
    Bergoglio’s Jesuit superior was very clear about the future pope’s personality and attitude deficiencies. Progressives and power-seeking kingmakers in the Church likely saw those disedifying qualities, if not desirable then at least tolerable, in the man they schemed to put into office to replace Ratzinger (who was holding up the advance of the Revolution).

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