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Irish missionaries and the Catholic Church during the civilian military dictatorship in Argentina, 1976-1983

Dermot Keogh, emeritus Professor of History
University College Cork
Structure de recherche associée à la MRSH : ERIBIA
Enregistré le : 18/06/2021 - Durée : 21mn - Réalisation : Université Caen Normandie
Lieu : En visioconférence

Prof Dermot Keogh is emeritus Professor of History at University College where he also held the chair in European Integration Studies.  He is a member of the Royal Irish Academy and has twice held fellowships at the Woodrow Wilson Centre, Washington DC in 1988 and 1991. He was Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Irish Studies, Queen’s, Belfast in 1995/6 and the visiting Burns Scholar at Boston College in 2011/2. He received an honorary doctorate from the Universidad del Salvador, Buenos Aires, in 2018 where he has been a visiting professor for a number of years.  Among Professor Keogh’s books are Jews in Twentieth Century Ireland; Twentieth Century Ireland – Nation and State; The Vatican, the Bishops and Irish Politics 1919-1939; Ireland and the Vatican and the Making of the Irish Constitution. He published in Spanish La Independencia de Irlanda: la conexion argentina in 2016 and his new book Ireland and Argentina in the Twentieth Century: Diaspora, Diplomacy, Dictatorship, Human Rights and the Falklands/Malvinas Crisis will appear in Spanish and in English in 2021/2.

Abstract

The worldwide Papal appeal for missionaries to work in Latin America in the 1960s was answered generously by the Catholic Church in Ireland. The Pallottines and Passionists who had ministered since the late nineteenth century in that country were joined in the ‘60s and ‘70s by other orders of Irish priests, nuns and brothers who worked as teachers and in parishes but now beyond the traditional ministering to Irish Argentines. Following the military coup d’etat in March 1976, many churchmen and women implementing the papal social teaching became people of interest for the new government and a number were kidnapped, tortured and murdered by agents of the state in a six-year campaign of systematic repression.  This paper will examine the murder of five Pallottines on 4 July 1976, the killing of the Bishop of La Rioja, Enrique Angelelli, on 4 August 1976 and, on 11 October 1976, the kidnapping, torture and imprisonment of Fr. Patrick Rice and the catechist, Fátima Cabrera in the context of the successful campaign by Ambassador Wilfred Lennon and Justin Harman to secure their release. This paper will also make reference to the role of the Irish priest, Kevin Mullen, who worked at the nunciature and was outspoken in his denunciation of human rights’ abuses during his posting to Buenos Aires.

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