05 April 2022, The Tablet

Argentine bishops speak on Falklands anniversary

“This terrible human experience has been a very grave sin for which we have shown little repentance,” said Mgr Jorge Eduardo Scheinig.

Argentine bishops speak on Falklands anniversary

Large numbers of people in Ushuaia, Argentina take part in a commemorative event on the night of April 2, 40 years after the start of the Falklands War between Argentina and Britain.
Joel Reyero/dpa/Alamy

The leaders of the Catholic Church in Argentina last weekend joined the country’s commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the Falklands War. 

The main celebration was a Mass in the national basilica of Our Lady of Luján on Saturday 2 April, presided over by the president of the bishops’ conference, Bishop Oscar Ochea. 

In the homily at the mass Mgr Jorge Eduardo Scheinig, Bishop of Mercedes-Luján, remembered the soldiers who had died and the veterans. He regretted “the sad testimony left to us by the survivors of Malvinas, what they experienced during the war and after it, that of feeling abandoned to their fate”.

“This terrible human experience has been a very grave sin for which we have shown little repentance and from which we have learned very little,” he said.

“How then can we feel ourselves to be all daughters and sons of the same country?  How can we get back confidence and pride in being Argentines?  What can we do to make love for our country more than a superficial or empty emotion? What can we do to ensure that the lives of so many young people killed in the Malvinas are not a constant reproach to our consciences, but awaken them and pushes us to a new patriotism?”

The previous day the bishop to the armed forces, Mgr Santiago Oliveira, celebrated a mass in Buenos Aires’ Military Cathedral in which he called for dialogue and condemned war.

He went on: “We pray for those who have died, for those who gave their lives, we renew the desire that justice may be done, because Argentina demands, not its sovereignty over the islands, but the exercise of sovereignty over the Malvinas, and for this we have to ask and accompany those who govern the destiny of the Nation.

“We pray that a day may come when such evil, such violence, such, impotence, such injustice may be repaired and that we can say, not as a slogan, that the Malvinas are truly Argentine.”

A note missing from the Church celebrations was the role of the Argentine military dictatorship in launching the invasion, what President Alberto Fernández called “the terrible and irresponsible decision that sent to their death hundreds of our fellow citizens”. 

He continued: “We have to say that those military leaders that shamed our armed forces are today firmly a past to which no-one wishes to return.”

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