In Cuba and Argentina: Pres. Obama 2, Pope Francis 0
By Betty Clermont
Open Tabernacle: Here Comes Everybody
March 29, 2016
President Barack Obama traveled to Cuba and Argentina last week.
In Cuba, Obama met with 13 Cuban dissidents at the US Embassy in Havana. They gave him the names of political prisoners the day after Cuban President Raul Castro said there were none in his island nation. Obama said the US continues to have “deep differences” with the Cuban government in the area of human rights and democracy. “My hope is that by listening and hearing from [the dissidents] that we can continue to refine our policy in such a way that ultimately the Cuban people are able to live freely and prosperously.”
In an earlier speech, Obama stated that equality under the law, the right to criticize the government, to protest peacefully, to practice faith peacefully and publicly, and to choose governments in free and democratic elections, are universal “rights of the American people, the Cuban people, and people around the world.”
Pope Francis visited Cuba September 19-22, 2015. He refused to meet with dissidents and kept silent about political prisoners and other victims of the Castro regime. His only mention of “freedom” was in regards to that of his Church.
Obama honored the victims of the 1976-1983 Dirty War in Argentina on March 24, the 40th anniversary of the military coup.
Pope Francis has not returned to his native land although he has made four trips to Latin America. His two predecessors had quickly returned to Poland and Germany, respectively, to massive acclaim by their compatriots. But when asked by a reporter on Feb. 18, “Holy Father, when are you going to go to Argentina?” – Pope Francis avoided the subject.
The Dirty War
A brutal junta initiated the Dirty War resulting in the “disappearance” of approximately 30,000 Argentines. Even those only suspected of being a dissident were kidnapped, tortured and murdered. The kidnappings – or disappearances – were preferred by the dictators to open bloodshed on their own populace for the practical effect of subduing outright civil war because the friends and families of the disappeared worked and hoped for the release of their loved ones. Because the barbarity was largely hidden, this was called the Dirty War.
Shortly before Obama’s arrival in Buenos Aires, his administration announced that US government documents relating to this period would be declassified. The Nixon/Ford Secretary of State and National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger supported the coup. Perhaps the newly unclassified documents will show a more direct US involvement in Argentina similar to the role we played in the 1973 military coup ousting the democratically-elected Chilean Pres. Salvador Allende by Gen. Augusto Pinochet.
Jimmie Carter condemned the Argentine junta and its human rights abuses. Ronald Reagan initially supported the dictatorship but when they invaded the British Falkland Islands in 1982, Reagan sided with his close ally, Margaret Thatcher. Reagan formed an alliance with Pope John Paul II to crush other Latin American freedom-fighters as well and support subsequent dictatorships under the guise of “anti-communism.” (see Chap. 6 of my book, The Neo-Catholics: Implementing Christian Nationalism in America.)
Pope Francis’ Response
A month after the election of Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergolio in March 2013, Pope Francis promised to open the Vatican archives on the Dirty War. Estela de Carlotto, the 82-year-old head of the Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo who had led the search for babies stolen from pregnant mothers in detention sites, had a few words with Pope Francis and handed him a letter. She asked that the Vatican and the Argentine Church open their records so they might be searched for any information of what became of the children. Carlotto said the pope responded: “You can count on me. You can count on us.”
In April 2015, Pope Francis met with Lita Boitano, the 83-year-old mother of two sons who were “disappeared.” “Pope Francis told me the Vatican will open its archives for that period,” said Boitano, president of the Argentine human rights group Familiares (“Relatives”). “The collection of the material has been concluded and there is a system to scan and digitize it,” she explained. A Vatican official said “It could be available to the public in one year.”
But on March 23, 2016, prompted by interest regarding the declassification of US documents, papal spokesman, Fr. Federico Lombardi, stated:
For some time Pope Francis has expressed his intention to open up for consultation the Vatican archives relating to the period of dictatorship in Argentina (1976-1983). This naturally presupposes the cataloguing of the material. This task is proceeding in a regular fashion and it is expected to be completed during the coming months, after which the times and conditions for consultation may be studied, in agreement with the Argentine Episcopal [Bishops] Conference … The intention is to respond to specific legal questions requested by rogatory [a formal request from a court to a foreign court for some type of judicial assistance] or matters of a humanitarian nature.
The archives referred to are mostly records kept by Italian Cardinal Pio Laghi who was the Vatican’s nuncio (ambassador) to Buenos Aires during the most horrendous early period of the dictatorship. Laghi confirmed in 1995 that he knew of some 6,000 cases of people who “disappeared.” His admission followed claims by Fr. Federico Richards “that Laghi kept one list at his office while a second was kept at the office of the Military Vicarate. Richards discovered a macabre system at the Vatican Embassy by which Argentina’s military rulers constantly updated a list of the dead and missing kept by Laghi … Richards discovered a second list of 2,100 ‘disappeareds’ kept by Argentine Bishop Adolfo Tortolo, Argentina’s Vicar of the Armed Forces.”
Pope John Paul II transferred Laghi as his ambassador to Washington DC immediately following Reagan’s election in 1980. After meeting with the president in Rome on June 7, 1982, John Paul II left for Argentina on June 10. He refused to meet with human rights organizations and never referred to the Church’s complicity.
The Church’s Collaboration with the Dictatorship
Witness to the Truth: The Complicity of Church and Dictatorship in Argentina by Emilio F. Mignone was published in 1986. The book “exposes the ‘sinister complicity’ between the Church and the military who ‘did the dirty work of cleaning up the inside of the Church with the acquiescence of the priests.’” Mignone was regarded as “Argentina’s best-known campaigner for human rights, particularly from 1976 to 1983.” He concluded, “The majority of the Argentine hierarchy collaborated by action or omission, with the Argentine military junta.”
In 1997, Laghi was charged with complicity in the regime’s crimes by the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo, mothers of the disappeared who confronted the military about the abduction of their children. They petitioned the Italian government to prosecute Laghi. “They claimed to have 20 witnesses, including two bishops, two priests and a mother superior ready to testify that Laghi silenced international protests, falsely stated to relatives that he knew nothing of the fate of victims and expelled from the country priests and religious who protested the ‘disappearances’ and tortures.”
The Silence, published in 2005, documented “the Church’s active participation during the dictatorship while having full knowledge of the human rights violations being committed at the time.” The author, Horatio Verbitsky, had won the International Press Freedom Award in 2001.
A 2010 interview with junta Gen. Jorge Videla was published in July 2012. Videla said he had “many conversations” with Argentina’s primate, Cardinal Raúl Francisco Primatesta, about his regime’s ridding the country of left-wing activists. He said there were also conversations with other leading Argentine bishops as well as with Laghi.
“They advised us about the manner in which to deal with the situation,” stated Videla. He also said that Church authorities offered their “good offices” and undertook to inform families looking for “disappeared” relatives to desist from their searches, but only if they were certain the families would not use the information to denounce the junta. Videla claimed these churchmen “understood well … and also assumed the risks” of such involvement.
(Citations for the following section can be found here and here unless otherwise noted.)
Born in Buenos Aires in 1936, Jorge Mario Bergoglio graduated as a chemical technician but then entered the seminary in 1958. He studied in Chile and Argentina; taught literature and psychology. He was ordained in 1969. At the very young age of 37, he was appointed provincial (i.e. superior) of the Argentine Jesuits in 1973.
Two Jesuit priests, Orlando Yorio and Francisco Jalics, worked in a Buenos Aires shantytown known as Bajo Flores. Working alongside them were young adult Catholics also committed to helping the poor. One of them, Monica Mignone, was the daughter of Emilio Mignone, a devout Catholic. In 1976, Monica, along with six of her co-workers, was kidnapped and taken to the infamous torture center, the School of Naval Mechanics of Argentina (ESMA), because the dictators said those who supported social justice were communists. Yorio and Jalics were taken in the next raid on Bajo Flores a week later. The priests and at least one other worker, Maria Elena Funes, were released after being tortured.
Yorio, a native of Argentina, left the Jesuits and became a diocesan priest in Argentina’s diocese of Viedma. Later he moved to Uruguay. Jalics, a Hungarian, remained a Jesuit but left Argentina and eventually joined a Jesuit community in Germany.
On November 25, 1977, the Jesuit Universidad del Salvador awarded an honorary doctor’s degree to Admiral Emilio Massera, a member of the junta and head of ESMA. For Bergoglio to have “cultivated a relationship” with Massera is a “stain” on his record for which “Argentines, the Jesuits and the two hundred billion Catholic in the world deserve an explanation.”
A compelling account of this period was written by Mignone, who spent the next ten years not only searching for his daughter but also trying to understand what had happened and why. Based on his exhaustive investigation into his daughter’s disappearance, Church and Dictatorship: The Role of the Church in Light of Its Relations with the Military was published in 1986.
According to Mignone, during a meeting with the junta in 1976, then president of the Argentine Episcopal Conference (CEA) and military chaplain, Archbishop Adolfo Servando Tortolo, agreed that before a priest was arrested, the military would warn his respective bishop. “On some occasions the green light was given by the same bishops” to act against some priests. Mignone added, “A week before [Yorio’s and Jalic’s] arrest, Archbishop Juan Carlos Aramburu had withdrawn their ministerial licenses without reason or explanation. Because of various expressions heard by Yorio in captivity, it was clear to him that the Navy interpreted Aramburu’s decision and, perhaps, some criticism from his provincial, Jorge Bergoglio, as an authorization to take action against him. Most certainly, the military had warned both Aramburu and Bergoglio of the supposed danger that Yorio posed.” Mignone thought Bergoglio’s criticism “served as part of the basis for the arrest, imprisonment and torture of the Jesuit priests.”
Mignone wondered “what will history say of these shepherds who delivered their sheep to the enemy without defending them or rescuing them?”
“Two bishops, more than a hundred priests, religious and seminarians, thousands of committed Christians fell. But there were no collective pastoral bishops condemning the persecution or the excommunication of those responsible. This was a curious spectacle. Bishops who shared favors with a regime that terrorized and massacred their priests and faithful!”
Fr. Pedro Arrupe was Superior General of the Jesuits during this period. “The crowning moment” in Arrupe’s career was his 1975 decree which “redefined the work of the Jesuits as supporting social justice.” “Arrupe urged his priests to assume a political and social commitment. As a result, more Jesuits were persecuted, tortured and forcibly disappeared in Latin America in the 1970s than priests from any other order.”
As provincial, Bergoglio not only failed to support social justice but had also forbade other Argentine Jesuits to do so. Arrupe replaced Bergoglio as head of the Argentine Jesuits in 1979.
Very little had been written about the next thirteen years of Bergoglio’s life before he was elected pope. The official Vatican biography states only that “he resumed his work in the university sector” as rector of a college. He was a parish priest, a spiritual director, confessor and went to Germany to finish his doctoral thesis.
Vatican Secretary of State Angelo Sodano (nuncio to Chile 1977- 1988, then an official in, and later head of foreign affairs from 1988-2005) led “John Paul II’s belligerent anti-communist crusade …With the struggle against Liberation theology as background, Sodano built a network of papal nuncios and bishops from which he exerted his influence over Latin America…. There is a whole generation of nuncios, diplomats and bishops who owe their rise to Cardinal Sodano….The star of Jorge Mario Bergoglio starts rising in the 90s,” wrote Vatican reporter Andrea Gagliarducci.
In 1992, Bergoglio was appointed auxiliary bishop of Buenos Aires. When Bergoglio was promoted to coadjutor (with right of succession to the) Archbishop of Buenos Aires – capital, largest and most important city – in 1997, he became the most influential Catholic official in Argentina. He was elevated to cardinal in February 2001.
The following took place in 2010 during criminal trials of eighteen officers who had worked at ESMA:
Reported by argentinaindependent.com on Nov. 8, 2010:
Attorney Luis Zamora requested Cardinal Bergoglio’s statement after testimony before the court on 23rd September by María Elena Funes, a former detainee of ESMA [one of the workers kidnapped with Yorio and Jalics]. Her statement informed the court that [Yorio and Jalics] were abducted on 20th May 1976 after Bergoglio removed their religious licenses to preach in Bajo Flores as well as their protection….
Cardinal Bergoglio was called as a witness by the court….
The National Code of Criminal Procedure declares that official dignitaries “are not required to appear” in the court. Depending on the importance that the judge administers to their testimony, the witness must “declare at his official residence, or by a written report,” testify under oath….
Cardinal Bergoglio, as the head of the Argentine Church, said he will provide his testimony, not in public, but before the judges of the fifth Federal Court and the parties in his office in the Metropolitan Curia adjacent to the cathedral.
Reported by bajandolineas.com.ar on Nov. 8, 2010:
Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, Archbishop of Buenos Aires and Primate of Argentina, told the judges he tried to protect the priests Orlando Yorio and Francisco Jalics and met twice with the former president of the military dictatorship, Jorge Videla, and two other times with the late Admiral Emilio Massera, with whom he spoke harshly, to ask them to release the priests….
“He was evasive. Bergoglio was not a collaborator of justice,” said the lawyer Luis Zamora. In his view, the prelate “had 34 years to testify and did not; when summoned he requested to testify in writing, and now his statement was highly significant in terms of what was [the role] of the Church in the dictatorship.”
Zamora described Bergoglio during interrogation as “someone ostensibly reluctant, measuring word for word” and could not provide any names of those Jesuits who saw Jalics and Yorio as “subversive” for their work in the villages ….
[W]hen the priests were released they related to him what they had suffered and he was in charge of reporting to his superiors. Zamora [asked Bergoglio] to tell the court what official steps he made to his superiors in 1976 as a representative of the Jesuit order, to formally ask for the release of the kidnapped priests. Bergoglio clarified that his efforts with his superiors in the Church and the Vatican were informal (spoken) and therefore there was not any record.
Part of the Bergoglio’s testimony follows (Z Zamoro, B Bergoglio):
Z– Do any records exist in some archive of the Catholic Church?
B– I suppose so, but I don’t know for sure.
Z– Are those files under your control?
B– The central archive of the CEA (Episcopal Conference of Argentina) is under the control of the CEA
Z- And who supervises the CEA?
B– I do.
Z– So, could you locate it [the file]?
B– I can look for it, but not sure I can find it.
You can read Bergoglio’s testimony in Spanish here.
It has been widely reported that Bergoglio came in second in the conclave which elected Joseph Ratzinger pope on April 19, 2005. After the conclave, Bergoglio gave two Argentine journalists his approval to write a book “based on his speeches and homilies.” They convinced him to also include their interviews with him and the book, The Jesuit: Conversations with Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, was published in 2010. It was reissued as Pope Francis: Conversations with Jorge Bergoglio: His Life in His Own Words.
In the book, Bergoglio “defends himself against those who accuse him of taking away support for Yorio and Jalics after the priests refused to comply with his order to leave the village of Bajo Flores, where they were doing pastoral work … Bergoglio denied that the priests were involved in ‘subversive activities’ as maintained by the persecutors. ‘Really they were not.’ But he acknowledged that ‘through their relationship with some priests in the shantytowns, they too were exposed to the paranoia of the witch hunt … Fortunately, Yorio and Jalics were later released, first, because they could not be accused of anything, and second, because we moved like crazy. That same night I heard of the kidnapping, I started to move,’ he added.”
(On August 5, 2013, Mercedes Mignone testified in court on the matter of ESMA about the capture of her sister, Monica. Mignone testified that her father contacted the Archbishop of Buenos Aires Juan Carlos Aramburu, Fr. Jorge Bergoglio and papal nuncio Archbishop Pio Laghi; “the latter was the only one who showed interest.”)
Having said that he hid people in danger from the junta, the authors asked Bergoglio how many. He responded, “I hid a few, I do not remember exactly the number,” in the Jesuit school where he was residing. He told the authors he was relating this because Bishop Fernando Maletti told him that he knew of three seminarians who had been protected in this manner and that this information should be made available to the public.
After Videla’s interview was made public in July 2012, Argentine Church leaders had little choice but to respond. As cardinal primate, Bergoglio would have approved such an important declaration. The statement, Los Obispos de la República Argentina, 104º Asamblea Plenaria, 9 de noviembre de 2012, “acknowledged the Church’s failure to protect its flock during the 1970s.”
The bishops equated the quickly crushed guerrilla resistance with state terrorism: “We know the suffering…because of state terrorism; as we know of the death and devastation caused by guerrilla violence.”
They absolved the Church from any guilt: “We have the word and testimony of our elder brothers, the bishops who preceded us about whom we cannot know how much they personally knew of what was happening. They tried to do everything in their power for the good of all, according to their conscience and considered judgment….”
“This is what is required: a determination to search for the truth, the recognition of that which is deplorable, the repentance of those who are guilty, and reparations made for the injustice and damages suffered.” But they refer to the Videla’s statement as being “completely divorced from the truth of what the bishops were involved in at that time.”
“For our part, we have cooperated with the law when we have been asked for information which we have. In addition, we encourage those with information on the whereabouts of stolen children or know clandestine burial sites, to recognize their moral obligation to go to the relevant authorities.”
Bergoglio becomes Pope Francis
Bergoglio was elected pope four months later by cardinals who, like himself, had been appointed by his two predecessors. It’s difficult to imagine now, but initially the media widely reported the debate about his role during the Dirty War which Vatican spokesman, Fr. Federico Lombardi, dismissed as accusations coming from “anticlerical, left-wing elements that are used to attacking the Church.”
The previously mentioned Fr. Richards, who had disclosed the lists kept by Laghi, wrote that “members of another Irish parish active in human rights credit their ties to the Irish orders with having prevented Argentina’s hardline bishops from silencing them.”
Compare that with Yorio’s siblings (the priest died in 2000) repeating their brother’s accusation that Bergoglio had given a “green light” to his abduction as did Jalics’ siblings. Other priests present at the time, Eduardo de la Serna and Juan Luis Moyano, confirmed that Bergoglio did not protect his priests. Jalics issued a statement that Bergoglio had not turned them over to the military, but Jalics was silent as to whether or not Bergoglio had facilitated their being kidnapped. Only one person actually present at the time confirmed Bergoglio’s testimony as true, Alicia Olveira, a personal friend.
Elena de la Cuadra was widely quoted in the media as condemning Bergoglio for lying during the second time he was called to testify, this time specifically about the missing babies. Bergoglio told the court he had no knowledge that this was taking place while the de la Cuadra family testified how they had sought his help in the disappearance of a pregnant relative which Bergoglio palmed off to someone else to handle.
The person most quoted in defense of the new pope was Adolfo Perez Esquivel, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1980, and repeated over and over that Francis never collaborated with the dictatorship like Primatesta, Aramburu, Tortolo, Laghi etc. But, of course, that is not what the pope is accused of.
First Action as Pope
One month after his election, the pope appointed eight cardinals to be his personal advisers. He chose Honduran Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga as head of this Council of Cardinals. Rodriguez supported the coup that overthrew the constitutional and progressive Pres. Manuel Zelaya in 2009 plunging that country into indescribable violence and greater poverty.
The cardinal was condemned by Pérez Esquivel in 2009: “Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodriguez: The path you have chosen to be an accomplice of the military dictatorship is not the way of the Gospel. You cannot be against your people and allow violence and repression in the name of supposed safety and law and the committing of serious human rights violations.” Pérez Esquivel never criticized Pope Francis for elevating the Honduran.
Pope Francis also chose Chilean Cardinal Francisco Javier Errazuriz Ossa for his select group of advisers. When Pinochet was arrested in London in 1998, Errazuriz said the arrest of Pinochet was a barbarity, British justice was defective and the British themselves uncivilized. (Hugh O’Shaughnessy, Pinochet: The Politics of Torture) Errazuriz “later criticized human rights lawsuits in Chile against Pinochet and other officials of the former regime, saying, ‘Excessive justice could be detrimental to reconciliation and social peace.’” In a 2003 interview, Errazuriz praised Pinochet’s dictatorship (1973 – 1990) : “Chilean coup leaders left the economy in the hands of experts…Such changes can only be implemented during a dictatorship.”
Italian Cardinal Giuseppe Bertello was the only Vatican official appointed to the inner circle. John Paul II named him nuncio to Rwanda in 1991 and he remained in that post during the 1994 genocide. The Catholic Church “was the only institution involved in all the stages of genocide [that] took more than a million lives in just a hundred days … There is no doubt that throughout the history of Rwanda, Church leaders have had ties with political power. The Church was also involved in the policy of ethnic division, which degenerated into ethnic hatred,” wrote Ndahiro Tom, a Rwandan human rights commissioner. He was disheartened “to see the institutional Church protecting, instead of punishing, or at least denouncing those among its leadership or in its membership who are accused of genocide.” Richard Johnson, a former Foreign Service Officer with the US State Dept., wrote a paper dated March 19, 2013: “The work of many foreign and Rwandan researchers also demonstrates that the 1994 genocide raises grave issues of accountability for the Vatican and the Catholic Church more generally, including participation of Catholic clergy in the genocide, providing escape routes and safe haven to fugitive genocide suspects, and supporting the Hutu Power movement’s propaganda campaign.”
Pope Francis chose Archbishop Pietro Parolin (later elevated to cardinal) as his secretary of state. Parolin is described as a “protégé of,” “raised by” and “close to” Sodano by various Vatican insiders. Pope Francis further increased Parolin’s power by appointing him to the supervisory commission of the Vatican Bank and to the important Congregations of the Doctrine of the Faith, for Bishops, for the Evangelization of Peoples and for the Oriental [i.e. non-Roman] Churches as well as making him the ninth member of his privy council.
The Media Transforms Bergoglio
Multiple hagiographies quickly ensued. Nello Scavo, a journalist for the Italian bishops’ newspaper, Avvenire, wrote Bergoglio’s List: The Untold Story of the People Saved by Francis during the Dictatorship. In the biography published in 2010, Bergoglio said he had helped “a few” escape. According to Scavo, Bergoglio saved as many as a thousand, an Argentine version of Oskar Schindler.
Like their later massive coverage of a the crude but feisty Donald Trump, the US media discovered that the new pope portrayed as a saintly jolly-old-elf sold more advertising revenue.
After failing to defend human rights in Cuba, Pope Francis came to the US in September 2015 to diminish ours.
He met in private with Kim Davis, the county clerk who had refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The pope specifically stated after their meeting that “conscientious objection” by “government employees” is a “human right.” He has never spoken about government employees in that context before or since.
In his speech to the UN, Pope Francis reminded the delegates of their duty to set limits against “ideological colonization” as he had warned against in the Philippines and again in Mexico on Feb. 16. “Ideological colonization” is pope-speak for same-sex marriage which Bergoglio has opposed for decades with sometimes nasty homophobic phrasing like “the work of the devil,” an anthropological regression,” and affirming the official Catholic designation of homosexuals as “intrinsically disordered.”Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia stated, “It was really good to know that Francis stands with us on this very important issue.”
When the pope returned to Rome, he opened a synod for bishops on Oct. 4, 2015, stating:”This is God’s dream for his beloved creation: to see it fulfilled in the loving union between a man and a woman.”
While in the US, Pope Francis also met with the Little Sisters of the Poor who brought the federal suit resulting in the latest Supreme Court hearing on the issue of the Affordable Care Act’s coverage for birth control. Previously, Pope Francis granted a private audience to Steve Green, billionaire owner of Hobby Lobby, in March 2014. He “asked members of the Green family how their Supreme Court fight against President Obama’s contraception mandate was progressing.”
On Feb. 16, the pope compared abortion even to save the life of a woman with the Mafia. “Abortion is to throw someone out in order to save another. That’s what the Mafia does.”
At enormous taxpayer expense, as of October 2015, over 100 lawsuits had been filed in federal courts challenging the Affordable Care Act’s birth control benefit. The vast majority were brought by Catholic bishops and their affiliated institutions. But when a Republican governor instituted Romneycare in Massachusetts which covered abortion, the Church was silent.
The brilliant Catholic theologian, William Lindsay, wrote the following on Holy Saturday. “Is the Catholic Church in America Getting Worse for LGBTQ People and Women? My Answer: Yes”
From Lewiston, Montana, news breaks that a parish priest who had formerly denied communion to a same-sex couple who had long attended the church he pastors has now disrupted a funeral — he disrupted a funeral! — because people who stood in solidarity with that same-sex couple were among the mourners at the funeral.
From Evansville, Indiana, comes news that a Catholic pastor has shut down a ministry to welcome and affirm LGBT people in his parish, which has been going on for twelve years. The new pastor arrived this January. ….
I’m criticizing the Catholic Church because it’s attacking not merely LGBTQ people but also women, especially poor women living on the margins of American society, in the [Little Sisters of the Poor] case, while it professes to be about redemption (and love and mercy and justice).
For further reflection:
One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It’s simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we’ve been taken. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back.
Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark