Archbishop of Buenos Aires Jorge Bergoglio is to testify and deliver a statement about the disappearance of two Jesuit priests, Orlando Dorio and Francisco Jalic in 1976, during the last military dictatorship. The two were brought to the ESMA, a clandestine centre of torture, when he was serving as principal of the Society of Jesus in Argentina.
Attorney Luis Zamora requested the Cardinal’s statement on 23rd September after the declaration of María Elena Funes, a former detainee of the ESMA, before the court.
This statement by Funes informed the court that the two Jesuits were abducted on 20th May 1976 after Bergoglio removed their religious licenses to preach in Bajo Flores as well as their protection. The two priests were kidnapped by uniformed military personnel stated the witness. Funes went on to state that Bergoglio must have sent a replacement priest to celebrate mass at the time the military abducted them, as he was never questioned. Dorio and Jalic then spent six months in captivity after being taken to the ESMA.
Although Bergoglio was called as a witness by the court, the head of the Argentine Catholic Church, based on Article 250 of the National Code of Criminal Procedure, declares that official dignitaries “are not required to appear” in the court. According to the second paragraph, depending on the importance that the judge administers to their testimony, the witness must “declare at his official residence, or by a written report,” testify under oath.
Because of these articles in the National Code of Criminal Procedure, Cardinal Bergoglio will provide his testimony, which is not public, before the judges of the fifth Federal Court (TOF 5) and the parties in his office in Metropolitan Curia, adjacent to the Cathedral.