Jewish leaders seem well pleased with Pope Francis, citing his ties to Jews that he fostered in Argentina. This is a hopeful sign that the new head of the Catholic church will follow in the progressive footsteps of his last several predecessors.
We would be remiss, however, to ignore the new pope’s possible ties to the oppressive rightist regimes that have ruled Argentina with an iron fist during his time there.
The new pope has an amazing opportunity to allay some of the fears connected with that aspect of his tenure in Argentina. He could openly condemn Argentina’s lack of serious progress in apprehending and bringing to justice the perpetrators of the 1994 bombing of the AsociaciÃ³n Mutual Israelita Argentina (Argentine Israelite Mutual Association). Argentina recently formed what must laughingly be called a “truth commission” to identify the bombers who took 85 lives that day. It also signed on a partner to help ferret out the truth: the Islamic Republic of Iran, otherwise known as the most likely overall perpetrator of this act of terrorism.
If Pope Francis really wants to demonstrate that (a) he will continue making progress in Catholic-Jewish relations, and (b) that he has no loyalties to the oppressive Argentine regime, let him condemn Argentina publicly and soon.