Great Jubilee News


BUENOS AIRES, ( - Argentina's bishops on Friday asked forgiveness on behalf of all
Argentine Catholics for sins committed by them throughout the South American country's history, and
especially during the 1976-1983 military dictatorship that took thousands of lives.

Following in the footsteps of Pope John Paul II's historic Jubilee Year plea for pardon earlier this year
on behalf of the whole Church-- and similar pleas by other episcopal conferences, the bishops
apologized for the Church's failings. "We have been indulgent with totalitarian postures, hurting
democracy. We have discriminated against many brothers without committing ourselves to the
defence of their rights," the bishops told thousands of faithful attending the National Eucharistic
Congress in Cordoba.

"We ask your forgiveness, O God, for the silent responsibility and the effective participation of the
Church's children in pushing aside human rights, in tortures and rapes, in intransigent ideologies, and in
foolish deaths that bloodied our country," they said.

The Church has been accused by some of not only doing nothing to stop the wave of abuses during
the so-called "Dirty War" against suspected leftist rebels and their sympathizers, but actually
participating in it. In 1996, the bishops offered an examination of conscience that some called
lukewarm. Adolfo Perez Esquivel, a leading human rights advocate, called the 1996 apology "a
laundered document, with evasive phrases and no courage."

Among the other sins for which the bishops requested pardon where money laundering, drug
trafficking, and anti-Semitism. "Many Christians, in the name of human rights, may have invited the
crime of abortion, euthanasia, and cruelty and may have promoted drug consumption, lack of rest, and
abuse of alcohol and tobacco," they said.