Letter shows Pope pledged to fight for jailed priest

A GERMAN newspaper claims it has discovered a decades-old letter in which the future Pope Francis pledged to fight for the release of a fellow priest who had been kidnapped by the Argentine junta that was in power from 1976-1983.

Weekly Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung says Jorge Mario Bergoglio wrote to the family of the Rev Francisco Jalics in 1976 to tell them about his attempts to secure the priest’s release despite differences the two men had.

The paper’s report cites the Pope saying in his letter he would “do everything” to free Jalics.

Jalics, who survived the kidnapping, issued a statement on Friday saying he and Pope Francis had reconciled their differences years ago.

Since his election, Pope Francis has been criticised for failing to confront the military dictatorship in his county led by General Leopoldo Galtieri which jailed and murdered political opponents.