Wednesday, March 20, 2013

On Papal Elections and the War of (Photoshoped) Pictures

We have a Pope!

These are exciting times for faithful Catholics. The last time the Church got so much attention was when Pope Benedict was elected. I remember that time very well. I also remember how the enemies of the Church jumped at the opportunity presented to them by the fact that Benedict was German. The writing on the wall was obvious to them, if he was German and more than 60 years old then there must be a connection between him and the Nazi party.

Before Cardinal Ratzinger was elected to lead the Catholic Church there were a number of biographies which spoke freely about the fact that young Ratzinger had been, at the tender age of 14, a member of  the Hitler's Youth. Pope Benedict has long ago explained all this. It is a well known fact that he, along with many other German young men, was forced to joint this organization. It is also well know that young Raztinger found Nazism repugnant and refused to attend this organization meetings. This refusal was the cause why his family had to pay full tuition for his studies. All this is a matter of public record.

Some of those biographies included the following picture of young Ratzinger. You can see that in this image he is wearing the Hitler Youth uniform. 

Young Joseph Ratzinger at 14
When the enemies of the Church saw this picture they went on a frenzy! Finally the proof they needed!  Of course in this era of electronic media, tools like Photoshop can be used to enhance any feature in pictures.. Here is an example of this:

Of course facts such as Young Joseph's age (14), or that he was forced into joining the Hitler Youth, or the extreme dislike the Ratzinger family had for the Nazis (A fact corroborated by neighbors who knew them) are not important if the goal is to place the pope on a bad light.

Another young Benedict image which has been digitally "enhanced" in the following picture, perhaps you have seen it:

  Pretty incriminating don't you think? The critics were ecstatic! Finally a picture of Young Father Ratzinger giving the Nazi Salute!! This picture has been used to demonize the Pope and embarrass Catholics for the last eight years. In fact, even today you can find it in the most ardent anti-Catholic pages on the web. Of course critics not only enhanced this image, in their fervor to tie the Pope to Nazism, they went ahead and suspended all logic.

 Lets examine this picture with a critical eye. If you look closely Benedict is wearing the stole of a priest. This indicates that the picture was taken AFTER Benedict was ordained priest, in 1951...well after the Nazi party had been eradicated from Germany by the allies, so to accuse Ratzinger of using the "Nazi salute" is a historical anachronism. But not only this, the picture in question is a clever crop job of a larger picture, done for the exclusive purpose of raising strong negative emotions about the Pope. Here is the Original Picture:

As you can see, this is a picture of young Pope Benedict and his brother the day of their ordination back in 1951 while they are imparting their priestly blessing to friends and family at the the end of their first mass. Quite revealing don't you think?

Why am I telling you this? Well, the enemies of the Pope are at it again. As you know by now, the College of Cardinals elected Jorge Mario Cardinal Bergoglio, Archbishop of Buenos Aires, as the 266 successor of Peter.  It took less of 24 hours after the Cardinals elected Pope Francis for someone to send me this "very incriminating picture". The man you see here receiving communion is none other than General Jose Rafael Videla, the man who deposed Isabel Peron on a brutal Coup d'état back in 1976. The priest giving communion to Gen Videla is (claimed to be) none other than Father Jorge Mario Bergoglio.  The picture gives an impression of intimate familiarity between these two man. The humble communicant receiving the Eucharist from his priest. I received this picture with the claim, that "support (for) murderers is a bit much for a pope".

 Now I do not know the origin of this photo so I can not corroborate who these people are. Of course it is a matter of public record that Pope Francis was the provincial for all the Jesuits in Argentina during the reign of terror instituted by  Virela. As leader of all Jesuit priests he demanded the most strict neutrality in all matters political from his priests. Because of this, some people have accused him of indirectly favoring the oppressor by following this attitude of neutrality and of not doing more to speak against the government, and specifically of "abandoning" two priests in the hands of Videla's thugs
****UPDATE 1: One of the priests which were supposedly abandoned by then Provincial Father Bergoblio, has exonerated him from any wrong doing.

  Now, before I continue and for full disclosure, I must make something clear: I know very little of the history of General Videla or of Pope Francis during the 70s. I also have no idea where and when this picture was taken or where it came from. However I find it very suspicious, here is why:

  First of all, if this picture was taken in the 70s during the high of the Argentinian political troubles, it means that Father Bergoglio was in his early 40s. I'll ask you then does this priest look like a 40 year old man to you? In fact, I'm taking the identity of the priest in the picture at face value since you can't really see if this is Father Bergoglio or not. But lets assume this is him. Is he lending support to the Argentinian junta by giving communion to its leader? Him and General Virela look very comfortable with each other, if you ask me. Well... Once again the enemies of the Church are busy with their Photoshops. Here is the original picture:

****UPDATE 2: The man on this picture is not Pope Francis, this Argentinian article reveals the date and identity of this priest. The date is 1990, the man Father Carlos Berón de Astrada. Here is a video of the moment in which this picture was taken. It is clear this IS NOT Bishop Bergoglio

As you can see, there are a number of people in this picture. and if you are Catholic you will recognize what is going on here, we call it a communion  line. In the original picture, it is not just General Virela receiving the Eucharist. You can even see other people in other lines waiting to receive communion from other priests. I guess Virela and Bergoglio do not look as cozy or intimate as before. In fact I do not see a bishop making a statement of support by giving a political figure communion in a private and intimate setting. I see a good priest giving communion to one of dozens of other people in a public mass. Is there any sign of recognition or familiarity by Bergoglio, I do not see it. How about you?

**** UPDATE 3: Since I started working on this article I have found other sources which shed more light about Pope Francis history during this turbulent period of Argentinian history as well as, explain reasons about this smear campaign.

Article in which the Argentinian Supreme court exonerates Pope Francis from any wrong doing during that country's "Dirty War".

Article explaining the animosity some groups in Argentina have against Pope Francis.

And, another article.

"Viva Cristo Rey!!"