World

Argentina's 'Grandmothers' seek pope's intervention to find missing children from military era

  • Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo activist Buscarita Roa, of Chile, shows a scarf with the symbol of the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo association, in St. Peter's Square after meeting Pope Francis at the end of his weekly general audience at the Vatican, Wednesday April 24, 2013. Representatives from "Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo," an activist group that searches for people missing from Argentina's "dirty war," attended Pope Francis' general audience and said they will ask him to open the church files on the country's wartime era. The former Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was the head of the Jesuit order in Argentina during the start of the 1976-82 dictatorship that kidnapped and killed thousands of people to eliminate leftist opponents. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

    Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo activist Buscarita Roa, of Chile, shows a scarf with the symbol of the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo association, in St. Peter's Square after meeting Pope Francis at the end of his weekly general audience at the Vatican, Wednesday April 24, 2013. Representatives from "Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo," an activist group that searches for people missing from Argentina's "dirty war," attended Pope Francis' general audience and said they will ask him to open the church files on the country's wartime era. The former Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was the head of the Jesuit order in Argentina during the start of the 1976-82 dictatorship that kidnapped and killed thousands of people to eliminate leftist opponents. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)  (The Associated Press)

  • President of the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo Estela Carlotto, center and activist Buscarita Roa, of Chile, left, leave St. Peter's Square after meeting Pope Francis at the end of his weekly general audience at the Vatican, Wednesday April 24, 2013. Representatives from "Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo," an activist group that searches for people missing from Argentina's "dirty war," attended Pope Francis' general audience and said they will ask him to open the church files on the country's wartime era. The former Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was the head of the Jesuit order in Argentina during the start of the 1976-82 dictatorship that kidnapped and killed thousands of people to eliminate leftist opponents. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

    President of the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo Estela Carlotto, center and activist Buscarita Roa, of Chile, left, leave St. Peter's Square after meeting Pope Francis at the end of his weekly general audience at the Vatican, Wednesday April 24, 2013. Representatives from "Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo," an activist group that searches for people missing from Argentina's "dirty war," attended Pope Francis' general audience and said they will ask him to open the church files on the country's wartime era. The former Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was the head of the Jesuit order in Argentina during the start of the 1976-82 dictatorship that kidnapped and killed thousands of people to eliminate leftist opponents. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)  (The Associated Press)

  • President of the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo Estela do Carlotto, center, answers reporters questions at a press conference after meeting Pope Francis at his weekly general audience in St. Peter Square, at the Argentine Embassy to the Holy See, in Rome, Wednesday April 24, 2013. Representatives from "Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo," an activist group that searches for people missing from Argentina's "dirty war," attended Pope Francis' general audience and said they will ask him to open the church files on the country's wartime era. The former Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was the head of the Jesuit order in Argentina during the start of the 1976-82 dictatorship that kidnapped and killed thousands of people to eliminate leftist opponents. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

    President of the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo Estela do Carlotto, center, answers reporters questions at a press conference after meeting Pope Francis at his weekly general audience in St. Peter Square, at the Argentine Embassy to the Holy See, in Rome, Wednesday April 24, 2013. Representatives from "Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo," an activist group that searches for people missing from Argentina's "dirty war," attended Pope Francis' general audience and said they will ask him to open the church files on the country's wartime era. The former Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was the head of the Jesuit order in Argentina during the start of the 1976-82 dictatorship that kidnapped and killed thousands of people to eliminate leftist opponents. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)  (The Associated Press)

Members of the Argentine human rights group "Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo" have asked Pope Francis for help finding still-missing children taken from political prisoners during the country's 1979-83 military dictatorship.

Estela de Carlotto, president of the group, met briefly with the Argentine pope after Wednesday's general audience in St. Peter's Square. She handed him a written request that he authorize the opening of archives from the Vatican and the Catholic Church in Argentina in hopes of finding clues about the whereabouts of the children.

The organization estimates that around 500 babies were taken from their mothers while they were detained by the military.

De Carlotto told reporters after the meeting that Francis had told her: "'You can count on me. You can count on us.'"