Santiago (Agenzia Fides) - In a message that will be read in all the Catholic churches of Chile this weekend, Saturday 14 and Sunday 15 March, the Standing Committee of the Episcopal Conference of Chile recalls the concerns that the Church has collected throughout the Country and that the Bishops make their own, in view of the forthcoming consultations. On April 26, in fact, 14 million Chileans will decide whether or not to change the Constitution, which for many no longer identifies with the current reality, in a climate of strong polarization and acute social crisis that has lasted for some time.
The text in 4 points, sent to Agenzia Fides, underlines first of all how the social requests submitted starting from 18 October 2019 have been rejected. "Almost five months have passed and the awakening of Chile has not been dealt with speed and the effectiveness that was expected in such serious matters as the unjust distribution of income, precarious work, minimum wages and pensions, the urgent need for access to health care, the fair consideration of women in society and the protection of more vulnerable groups, among other things".
The Chilean Bishops therefore claim to share "the reasonable discomfort of people regarding the role that the authorities, legislators and political and social leaders are taking in the face of these tragedies. It is not clear why the promised necessary corrections do not proceed at the desired speed. The level of political debate in which private and sectoral interests hold back agreements and realizations that would help the common good is disappointing. Chile demands a fruitful dialogue in a context of civil friendship".
Therefore, at the third point of the message, the Standing Committee of the Episcopal Conference denounces the "episodes of violence, which always harm the poorest and violate people's rights, and are repeated in different parts of the Country, generating an atmosphere of fear and uncertainty which causes great damage. We cannot afford to be overcome by this spiral of violence and terror". They also stress that "democracy is an asset that we must all deal with" and for this reason they invite all Chileans to prepare themselves "with serenity and confidence" to participate with the vote in the next plebiscite, to state their opinion "by choosing among the legitimate options that are presented". It is therefore necessary "to know, reflect and discern on a personal, family and community level" before voting, for this reason some ballots are available on the Iglesia.cl website, prepared by the National Justice and Peace Commission, which "seek to help us understand how precious it is to be present and participate in all the important decisions of the Country".
The message ends with an invitation not to be afraid and to renew our hope in Jesus. "Let us not let ourselves be carried away by despair and fatalism. Let us continue to pray to Our Lady of Mount Carmel for Chile, for peace and justice, which are the pillars of a society that focuses on the life and dignity of the person and the promotion of the common good". (SL) (Agenzia Fides, 14/3/2020)