Temuco (Agenzia Fides) - "We need the wealth that every people can offer, and we must leave aside the logic of believing that there are superior or inferior cultures". This is what Pope Francis said during the Eucharistic liturgy celebrated on Wednesday, January 17 at the Maquehue air base in Temuco, capital of the Araucanìa region, 700 kilometers south of Santiago de Chile. During the Mass, celebrated before at least 200,000 faithful, the Bishop of Rome dedicated numerous references to the condition and suffering of the Mapuche, the indigenous group that populates that region of southern Chile. Representatives of other indigenous peoples of the region also took part in the liturgy: Rapanui (from Easter Island), Aymara, Quechua and Atacama.
"Jesus" Pope Francis remarked in his homily "does not ask his Father that all are equal, identical; because unity is not born and will not be born from neutralizing or silencing differences. Unity is not a simulacrum or of forced integration or of harmonizing marginalization". It "is not and will not be an asphyxiating uniformity that normally arises from the predominance and strength of the strongest, and not even a separation that does not recognize the goodness of others". The unity demanded and offered by Jesus - the Pontiff insisted "recognizes what every people, every culture is invited to bring to this blessed land", and "does not tolerate that in his name personal or community injustices are legitimized".
During the Mass, the Pope asked to observe a moment of silence in front of all the pain and injustices suffered by the indigenous peoples of the Auracanìa during the course of history.
Besides the temptation to confuse unity with forced uniformity and enemy of differences, the Successor of Peter recalled two forms of violence to be rejected, with clear reference to the conflict that opposes the Mapuches to Chilean political and military apparatuses: on the one hand, the Pope invited to guard against the "elaboration of 'beautiful' agreements that are never materialized. Beautiful words, projects which were concluded - and necessary - but by not becoming concrete end up 'cancelling with their elbows what was written by hand'. This too is violence, because it frustrates hope". On the other hand, the Pope called everyone to reject the violent rebellion that human lives pay a high price for. "You cannot assert yourselves by destroying others" said Pope Francis "because this only leads to more violence and division. Violence begets violence, destruction increases fragmentation and separation. Violence eventually makes a most just cause into a lie. This is why we say 'no' to violence that destroys, in neither of its two forms".
A few hours before the Pope's arrival, several churches were burned overnight in Araucania, attributed to extremist groups who claimed their violent acts in the name of the "Mapuche cause". At least 9 churches were destroyed in recent days by similar acts of intimidation in Chile. (GV) (Agenzia Fides, 17/1/2018)