CATHOLICS should help to spread information about the persecution of the Church and people in Argentina and give practical support to political refugees seeking to make a new life in Britain, Fr Jorge Adur, an exiled Argentinian priest, said in London this week.
Fr Adur, who escaped from Argentina after spending 40 days in hiding from Right-wing pars-police, also said that Catholic trade unionists should be active in encouraging their unions to take action against the Argentinian military government, and support the right of Argentinians to form trade unions.
"All active trade unionists are in prison and union activity is banned in Argentina," he said. "Although a total arms and trade embargo is not practical, Catholic trade unionists could do a lot to help their fellow workers in Argentina.
"When the dockworkers in Buenos Aires went on strike it weakened the Government considerably, and such action taken internationally would have a great effect on the government." Fr Adur an Assumptionist whose parish was a working-class district west of Buenos Aires, was advised by his superiors to leave the country when members of the ''Triple A", a Rightwing military group believed to work with the approval of the government, came to his house to arrest him.
Although Fr Adur was not at home at the time, two seminarians from the house were taken away and their whereabouts are still unknown.
"Any priest working with the working class and the poor in Argentina is likely to be persecuted in this way," said Fr Adur. "There are also countless
numbers of ordinary citizens who disappear or are imprisoned."
Fr Adur believes that the Church has a vital role to play in Argentina. "The Church is the only institution that can defend human rights and denounce torture," he said: "It is in situations which have reached the limit of human endurance that the Church can offer a word of hope for men.
"From a religious and spiritual point of view all the blood that has been shed cannot be in vain, and from a political point of view resistance is growing to a government which has lost credibility and prestige in the eyes of the people."
Although Fr Adur acknowledges that there is some division between the Argentinian hierarchy and those priests working in poor areas, he does not see the split as fundamental.
"But those who have given their lives working with the poor, and the new man who will be born through the struggle for liberation, will have a much greater sense of community. They will be men who wish to live and work in community."
Fr Adur is at present working in Paris, where he is preparing a thesis on "The Spirituality of Liberation," which he hopes to publish in October. He is also working for the 6,000 Argentinian community in Paris.