AMERICA/CHILE - Catholics and the referendum: the testimony of each one can be a source of peace, brotherhood and unity

Friday, 2 October 2020 elections   bishops   coronavirus  

Concepción (Agenzia Fides) - A referendum will be held in Chile on October 25th, where citizens will decide whether to amend the Constitution and what mechanism should be used to draft it if its amendment is approved (see Fides, 29/8/2020). The Archbishop of Concepción, Mgr. Fernando Chomali Garib wrote a letter to the faithful of the Archdiocese to accompany them in their reflection on the decision, which "is of utmost importance and must be approached with a broad vision, thinking of the common good and the dignity of the human person in mind", recalling that the constitution of a Country is "the mother of all laws".
The Archbishop asks the country's Catholics and all men and women of good will "to vote, to make their voices heard, to express themselves with hope and confidence without fear. If there is a large participation in the referendum, democracy will be strengthened", said the bishop, who recalled that the Fathers of the Church were already very interested in public affairs, and quoted in this context St. Don Bosco, who reminded that believers are called to be, "good Christians and honest citizens".
"Many people have asked me which option to choose in order to conform to the professed faith", said the Archbishop, adding that it is important to make it clear that it is not for the Church to say which option to choose. This would be a clear abuse of conscience". Politics and the Church are independent and autonomous in their field, although both are in different ways at the service of the personal and social vocation of man", said the Archbishop, who invites everyone to make a choice compatible with the "common good" and to examine the possible options in the light of everything "that promotes human dignity and the strengthening of democracy and responds to the deepest desires of men and women and serves the family and community". Therefore "the vote must be free and conscious, and the alternative chosen must be the result of a discernment in science and conscience".
In this regard, the Archbishop asks everyone "to be well informed, to study, to discuss and to form a proper conscience", and this is why it is important to know the Constitution, its creation and history. He recalled that "the Bishops of Chile have affirmed that peace is the fruit of justice and that a just Country cannot be built through unlawful pressure or violence".
The election is taking place despite the Covid-19 pandemic, which is why Mgr. Chomali concludes: "It is everyone's responsibility to be absolutely protected so as not to infect and get infected", it is the task of the State to provide the hygienic conditions so that the vote is not a source of a possible contagion". The referendum is "a great opportunity for Catholics to set an example for culture and civic friendship. The testimony of each of us in this time that the Country is experiencing can be a source of peace, brotherhood and unity. With an exemplary attitude we will show that dialogue, peaceful coexistence and agreements are possible". (SL) (Agenzia Fides 2/10/2020)