AMERICA/CHILE - Church fires do not stop, the solution is in dialogue

Wednesday, 13 April 2016 violence   dialogue   human rights   indigenous  


Temuco (Agenzia Fides) - Another Catholic chapel was set on fire at dawn yesterday in the region of Antiquina, in the town of Cañete, Biobio region (Chile). According to police information, the arson completely destroyed the structure". As in previous fires regarding places of worship (see Fides 05/04/2016), even here a canvas was found with writings accusing the Catholic Church of being an accomplice of the State against the Mapuche people.
The letter sent to Fides from a local source recalled that on March 2 San Fidel Major Seminary, belonging to the diocese of Villarrica, which had been occupied by members of an activist group of Mapuche communities Trapilhue, which claims ownership of the land on which the Seminary stands, was evacuated. The leader of this group stated: "the Church has proven to be a member of the State, and there will be no peace until the Church is not expelled from the Mapuche territory".
Therefore the burning of churches in the area began (see Fides 05/04/2016). In early April the Evangelical Church of Christian Union in Ercilla was also burned, and leaflets were found with the inscription: "All churches will be burned".
The Bishop of Temuco, His Exc. Mgr. Hector Eduardo Vargas, in an interview to a local newspaper, explained that "the burned churches are found in the Mapuche communities, these churches were built by them. The Mapuche, such as the group of 'loncos', are the first animators of the community. People now are scared. These attacks affect not only the Church, but the same local communities". "The Mapuche people are deeply religious", said the Bishop, "and a solution starts from dialogue". (CE) (Agenzia Fides, 13/04/2016)