Corrupt religion and a brave cardinal

Carmen Aguirre has written a powerful memoir about her life as a Chilena in exile, The daughter of Chilean resisters who fled to Canada after the Pinochet coup in 1973. It is called Revolutionary Daughter: Something Fierce (Douglas and) Mcintyre).Reading the book which was given a boost as part of CBC’s Radio One Canada Reads series, one wonders how this young woman, dragged from pillar to post,from Canada to Latin America and back ended up sane. It is an amazing story of both principled resistance to an evil regime but our capacity to survive.

I thought I’d heard almost everything about corrupt religion until I read about the failed attempt on Pinochet’s life in 1987.

Here’s a new low in chutzpah.

The dictadura, the harshest of brutal murderers, the torturer and executioner, the destroyer of democracy in his native country actually had the cojones to state that the Virgin had saved him from assassination! Madre mio, what’s been done in that poor Palestinian peasant’s name!

Pinochet actually went on TV several times to show how the gunfire made the shape of the Virgin on the window of his “Bulletproof” car. Yes, the Virgin, seemingly unemployed at the time,came to him in the form of bullets which could never penetrate his flesh!

Yes, another “devout Catholic.” He actually bragged about this.

Well history finally caught up to this murderer and to the USA and Kissinger who helped plot Salvador Allende’s removal.

The lost story of course are how JP ll helped mitigate the blacklist of exiles and how the brave Santiago cardinal Raul  Silva resisted this dark period in Chile’s history. Silva was an amazing prelate.For his bravery in the time of silence he  was awarded the UN Human Right Prize in 1978 Five years later .he was asked to resign by John Paul ll.

Next to JP’s humiliation of Oscar Romero, this was one of the pope’s worst gaffes in Latin America.

When Silva died in 1997, the people remembered  his Vicariate of Solidarity and his constant opposition to Pinochet.  5 days of mourning were declared by the government. of Chile.

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1 Comment »

  1. 1
    Phil Little Says:

    Opus Dei was the spiritual backbone of the dictatorship – not that this would surprise you. The story is that when even the military thought that it could ease up, it was Opus Dei which urged them on to continue the purge and the tortures, to cleanse the opposition of its sins. When John Paul II visited Chile he stood with Pinochet on the balcony of the Presidential palace and presented him with a model of the sailing ship the Esmeralda, which was widely known as an off-shore torture station of opponents of the regime. There is no doubt that the brutality of the Pinochet regime was only possible because of the support from the Vatican’s strong man – Cardinal Sodano (http://greenhouse.economics.utah.edu/pipermail/critical-realism/2005-April/000162.html). The more you dig into what the church was doing the more it smells, and how the Vatican undermined the heroic efforts of the few like Cardinal Silva.


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