The Black Shirt Pope

The Black Shirt Pope

On November 30th, 1979, Fr. José Bergoglio ordained a not-so-distant cousin of mine, Fr. Raul Bradley, SJ.

At the time, I was in Brazil, having fled Argentina earlier that year, upon being released from a Navy brig in Ezeiza.

Bergoglio & Bradley copy.jpg
F. José Bergoglio & F. Raúl Bradley

Father Bergoglio was already a relatively well-known figure in Argentine politics. All of us who had some activity during the 1970s knew about him.

That notoriety begun with his association with Guardia de Hierro.[1]

Guardia de Hierro

A Fascist group founded in 1961 by Alejandro Alvarez, aka “el Gallego’; Hector Tristán, former associate of Fascist propagandist John William Cook; and Peronist “resistance” leader César Marcos. They took their name, meaning Iron Guard, in honor of Cornelio Codreanu’s Fascist movement of the same name that savaged Romania from 1927 to 1938.

By the late 60s, Guardia de Hierro formed an association with FEN (National Student Front), a self proclaimed Marxist-Nationalist organization, and by 1972 established the oddly named Organización Unificada del Trasvasamiento Generacional (Unified Organization for Generational Trasfer), whatever the heck it means.

The following year, Bergoglio was made Provincial of the Jesuits of Argentina at the same time that Perón returned to power (viewed as a way to curry favor with the Peronists by advancing one of their own) and, as such, also took control of El Salvador University.

Based on a loose series of Marxist and proto Marxist thinkers, Guardia de Hierro claimed an ideological line from Hegel to Mao Zedong to Juan D. Perón (hard to fathom, but it’s no joke), and published their Manifesto: La Comunidad Organizada (The Organized Community), espousing much of Mussolini’s Fascism while crediting Juan D. Perón with the loot[2].  The brand of Populist Nationalism thus proposed consisted in no more than a rehash of Mussolini’s Fascio, to wit:

Social Peace in Social Justice, a rejection of American Imperialism and suppression of Communism–a system deemed “too materialistic” for the fanatical Catholicism of Guardia’s members, including Bergoglio–and participation in the “non-aligned movement”, with luminaries such as Marshall Tito of Yugoslavia, Cnel. Muammar Ghadafi of the “Socialist People’s Lybian Arab Jamahiria”, Nicolae Ceaucescu of Romania, Salvador Allende of Chile, Anwar el-Sadat of Egypt and Fidel Castro.[3]

Starting in 1973, the proud members of this illustrious organization adopted a light brown martial uniform, with arm bands that read “here we learn to love Perón”. The depredations caused by these Sturmabteilugns in collaboration with José López Rega[4] are a sad memory to many.


Guardia de hierro saludo
Guardia de Hierro militants, c. 1973


When a military Junta replaced the widow of Perón in 1976, Guardia de Hierro kept working under Admiral Emilio E. Massera[5], a fellow of López Rega’s in the pseudo-Masonic Lodge P2, controlled by the Vatican through Mons. Paul Marcinckus (an American Archbishop infamous for his dealings at the Vatican Bank), and responsible for a laundry list of terrorism related crimes until mysteriously dissolving once the Italian government capitulated and signed the 2nd Concordat with the Vatican in 1984, guaranteeing the Holy See its sovereign status and control of public education in Italy.[6]

Repairing the Façade

After the fall of the military dictatorship in the early 80s, Bergoglio went to work in repairing his image. Much was made of his supposed interventions to “save” people from the military dictatorship,[7] and very little of his association to Guardia de Hierro and the genocidal Admiral Massera.

Under Bergoglio’s guidance, the old brown shirts of Guardia de Hierro were incorporated into the Catholic Church as the Order of Mary of the Rosary of St. Nicholas (Orden de María del Rosario de San Nicolás), where to this day they continue to promote Fascism and the Church’s Social Doctrine, still in association with the Peronist party. Many prominent Peronists have been “guardians” of the Order, such as José Octavio Bordón, José Luis Manzano, Julio Bárbaro and Guillermo Moreno.

Vicar of Christ

Bergoglio’s ascension to the Papacy brought with him his abject Fascist ideology. Not that his Hitlerjugend predecessor was much better, but that is another story.

The echoes of Guardia de Hierro’s Fascist Manifesto, The Organized Community, can be discerned in his social and economic pronouncements:

On free markets and Capitalism:

“And behind all this pain, death and destruction there is the stench of what Basil of Caesarea called “the dung of the devil”. An unfettered pursuit of money rules. The service of the common good is left behind. Once capital becomes an idol and guides people’s decisions, once greed for money presides over the entire socioeconomic system, it ruins society, it condemns and enslaves men and women, it destroys human fraternity, it sets people against one another and, as we clearly see, it even puts at risk our common home.”[8]

“What the Church criticizes is the spirit that capitalism has encouraged, utilizing capital to subject and oppress the man.”[9]

“Capitalism has been the cause of many sufferings of injustice and fratricidal fights.”[10]

“How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points?”[11]

“Some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world. This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system.”[12]

“Instead of resolving the problems of the poor and thinking of how the world can be different, some can only propose a reduction in the birth rate. … To blame population growth instead of extreme and selective consumerism on the part of some, is one way of refusing to face the issues. It is an attempt to legitimize the present model of distribution, where a minority believes that it has the right to consume in a way which can never be universalized, since the planet could not even contain the waste products of such consumption.”[13]

“Economic powers continue to justify the current global system where priority tends to be given to speculation and the pursuit of financial gain, which fail to take the context into account, let alone the effects on human dignity and the natural environment.”[14]

On income inequality:

“While the earnings of a minority are growing exponentially, so too is the gap separating the majority from the prosperity enjoyed by those happy few. This imbalance is the result of ideologies which defend the absolute autonomy of the marketplace and financial speculation. Consequently, they reject the right of states, charged with vigilance for the common good, to exercise any form of control. A new tyranny is thus born, invisible and often virtual, which unilaterally and relentlessly imposes its own laws and rules. Debt and the accumulation of interest also make it difficult for countries to realize the potential of their own economies and keep citizens from enjoying their real purchasing power. To all this we can add widespread corruption and self-serving tax evasion, which have taken on worldwide dimensions. The thirst for power and possessions knows no limits. In this system, which tends to devour everything which stands in the way of increased profits, whatever is fragile, like the environment, is defenseless before the interests of a deified market, which become the only rule.”[15]

“I think so-called unrestrained liberalism only makes the strong stronger and the weak weaker and excludes the most excluded. We need great freedom, no discrimination, no demagoguery and a lot of love. We need rules of conduct and also, if necessary, direct intervention from the state to correct the more intolerable inequalities.[16]

On technological advances:

“Although no conclusive proof exists that GM cereals may be harmful to human beings, and in some regions their use has brought about economic growth which has helped to resolve problems, there remain a number of significant difficulties which should not be underestimated. In many places, following the introduction of these crops, productive land is concentrated in the hands of a few owners due to “the progressive disappearance of small producers, who, as a consequence of the loss of the exploited lands, are obliged to withdraw from direct production.”[17]

On American immigration policies:

‘Tragically, the rights of those who were here long before us were not always respected. For those peoples and their nations, from the heart of American democracy, I wish to reaffirm my highest esteem and appreciation. Those first contacts were often turbulent and violent, but it is difficult to judge the past by the criteria of the present. Nonetheless, when the stranger in our midst appeals to us, we must not repeat the sins and the errors of the past. We must resolve now to live as nobly and as justly as possible, as we educate new generations not to turn their back on our ‘neighbors’ and everything around us.”[18]

“A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not of building bridges, is not Christian.”[19]

On Terrorism:

“Today, I don’t think that there is a fear of Islam as such but of ISIS and its war of conquest, which is partly drawn from Islam. It is true that the idea of conquest is inherent in the soul of Islam. However, it is also possible to interpret the objective in Matthew’s Gospel, where Jesus sends his disciples to all nations, in terms of the same idea of conquest.”[20]


And thus, we come to see sitting on the chair of St. Peter the most virulent anti capitalist–not that his predecessors were ever too much for individual freedoms.

Yet, Bergoglio’s unique brand of Fascism combined with the training for obfuscation at which Jesuits have traditionally excelled, gives us the most dangerous combination of propaganda skills and hatred of a free society that we have had to confront in generations.



Maduro & Francis.jpg
Pope Francis blessing Venezuela dictator Nicolás Maduro, 2016


[1] Alejandro Panda, one of the leaders of Guardia de Hierro in the early 70s recalls: “A group of comrades with whom I was associated at the time, even though I was not working at the [University of ] El Salvador, but with the Dean, Francisco Piñón, who is today the Dean of the Catholic University of Cuyo. He was in charge of USAL [University of El Salvador, a Jesuit college under the office of Bergoglio], and we had a very close relationship with the Jesuits in general and with Bergoglio in particular.”

“After the death of Perón, Bergoglio became close to the members and later protected them during the dictatorship of General Videla. “More, Bergoglio was close to Piñón and some members of Guardia de Hierro. Alvarez does not mention him [in his memoirs], because he was not in that cell.”

(Alejandro C. Tarruela, Guardia de Hierro, de Perón a Bergoglio, Buenos Aires, 2016)

[2] Still available in later editions. See Juan D. Perón, La Comunidad Organizada, Buenos Aires, 2010.

[3] All but Tito and Castro (although Osvaldo Dorticós Torrado came in his representation) eventually made it to Buenos Aires. I still have the “Green Book” that Ghadaffi’s entourage presented to the students in my school. Allende and Dorticós signed as witnesses at the inauguration of Héctor Cámpora, a Perón stand-in that lasted 49 days.

[4] There was at a time a confrontation between López Rega, then the boss of paramilitary groups chasing the government’s opposition, and Guardia de Hierro, as he considered them “Trotskyites”, but the issue was eventually resolved. In fact, of course, they were not Trostkytes at all…

[5] In 1977, Massera placed retired Navy Capt. Carlos Brussone as head of Guardia de Hierro. That same year, the University of El Salvador, under Bergoglio’s stewardship, granted the genocidal Admiral an Honorary PhD.

Massera was condemned to life imprisonment for “crimes against humanity” in 1985. He was however pardoned only five years later by President Saul Menem, a Syrian-Argentine, and died in 2010. His funeral was kept in secret and was attended by 10 people. []


[7] In fact, he did very little or nothing, except protect Guardia de Hierro militants which are now touted as “persecuted” by the dictatorship they served!

[8] Speech at the World Meeting of Popular Movements, La Paz, Bolivia 10 July 2015. I strongly recommend reading the entire speech:

[9] Jorge Mario Bergoglio, ed., Diálogos entre Juan Pablo II y Fidel Castro, Buenos Aires, 1998

[10] Idem

[11] 2013 Apostolic Exhortation. (a fallacy of the false premise, a Jesuit’s favorite)

[12] Evangelii Gaudium, Sec. 54

[13] Laudato si. 2015, Sec. 50

[14] Laudato Si, Sec. 56

[15] Idem, Sec. 56

[16] La repubblica, 1 October 2013. Italics are mine. Note: by liberalism he means not “liberals” in the US political sense of the word, but in the traditional sense, i.e. Capitalism. This is, incidentally, the best synthesis of Mussolini’s Carta di Lavoro that I have seen.

[17] Laudato si, Sec. 134.  Lovely Jesuitism: Nonsequitur. Technological advances in quality of grains cause small farmers to lose their lands? How?

[18] Address to US Congress, 24 September 2015. Another bad syllogism. Conqueror’s relations to natives, whatever they may have been, bear no relation to US-Mexico relations.

[19] CBS News, 18 February 2016, Rebecca Kaplan

[20] La Croix, 17 May 2016. Classic Jesuitism: ISIS is not Islam, but we’re going to call it Islam. Conquest is an objective of Islam and Christianity, but we’re going to say it’s an objective of Islam.