THE CATHOLIC CHURCH in Argentina is to re-examine next December its role during the so-called "dirty war" waged by the military government against rebels in the 1970s and '80s.
"The issue is really delicate and we need time and calm to analyse the situation," Bishop Juan Carlos Maccarone of the Argentina Bishops' conference said. The review has been prompted by the Pope's apostolic letter "Tertio Millennio Adveniente" ('As the Third Millennium Draws Near'), which calls on Catholics to reexamine their consciences as the twenty first century draws near.
The Church in Argentina has been accused by some human rights advocates of collaborating with the military in a pattern of rights abuses that included kidnapping, torture and killings. '
But some armed forces officials have said church leaders, especially the former papal nuncio to Argentina, Cardinal Pio Laghi, had often tried to follow up "disappeared" individuals.
In the period from 1976 to 1983, 4,000 people were killed by the security forces and at least 10,000 disappeared.
The military have recently started owning up to some of their atrocities after a former navy captain, Adolfo Scilingo, admitted throwing drugged detainees out of aeroplanes.