Argentina Church and the Holy See open their archives on the disappeared The victims' relatives will be able to consult the documents of the military dictatorship period

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“The victims and families of the disappeared and prisoners ( in cases of religious or ecclesiastical, even their superiors) will soon be able to access the consultation of documents kept in the Archives of the Episcopal Conference of Argentina, the Secretariat of State and of the Apostolic Nunciature in Buenos Aires. It referred to the military dictatorship period, the years between 1976 and 1983. The announcement was made today with a joint statement of the Secretariat of State and the bishops’ after a conference which took place on 15 last October at the Vatican.The meeting was attended by the Executive Committee of the Argentine bishops, composed of the President Msgr. José María Arancedo, Archbishop of Santa Fe de la Vera Cruz, First Vice President Card. Mario Aurelio Poli, Archbishop of Buenos Aires and Primate of Argentina, the second vice president Msgr. Mario Antonio Cargnello, Archbishop of Salta, and the Secretary General, Msgr. Carlos Humberto Malfa, bishop of Chascomus, and, for the Holy See, the Cardinal Secretary of State. Pietro Parolin, the Secretary for Relations with States Mgr. Paul Richard Gallagher and some officials. The meeting served to evaluate the work of cataloging and digitization of archival material, performed in accordance with Pope’s instructions . A project begun a long time ago by the Conference of the Argentine bishops and that it is finally concluded.

The press emphasizes ” this work was done by having at heart, truth, justice and peace, continuing an open dialogue with the culture of encounter”.The bishops have reported that there are about 3,000 letters in the archives and scanned. Most of them are family members’ letters  of the disappeared  (which are estimated at 30,000) or answers to requests for information on these people sent to the government. At the beginning there were attempts to throw shadows on Bergoglio, who from 1973 to 1979 was the provincial of the Jesuits in Argentina, shadows soon allayed by the historical truth of the facts and the wide availability always shown by the Pope to make full light on such a dark period. A willingness reiterated on several occasions also to Estella Carlotto and Hebe de Bonafini, leaders respectively of the Grandmothers and Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo. Both had asked to the Holy See and the Church in Argentina to open their archives, it happens as soon as  a specific protocol  will be defined.

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