By Joachim Teigen
In a letter signed 20 October by Archbishop Miguel Cabrejos Vidarte, President of the Bishops’ Conference of Peru, and Bishop Norberto Strotmann, Secretary General of the Conference, all the bishops of Peru assure the Church and the people of Chile of their “closeness and solidarity during this delicate social situation that the people of Chile are going through”.
“We lift up our prayers to the Lord Jesus Christ, that peace and social tranquillity may be restored to the country” they said. The letter goes on to say that “We share the pain for those who have lost their lives amidst these social upheavals and, united with your prayer, we ask God for the gift of peace”.
Other leaders react
The protests and the civil unrest have resulted in at least 15 deaths, and was sparked by a raise in the price of metro tickets last week. Anger towards the country’s political elite reached a high with calls for President Sebastián Piñera to resign.
On Tuesday the president broadcasted an apology to the Chilean people, with assurances of higher wages and pensions, as well as higher taxes for the wealthiest.
Pope Francis said during his Wednesday General Audience that he was “following with concern the situation in Chile”, and expressed hope that the use of dialogue would put an end to the violence.
“Violence is never the solution”
In their message, the Peruvian bishops quoted the Holy Father saying “Violence is never the solution for our fragmented world. Responding to violence with yet more violence leads, in the best case, to enormous sufferings and, in the worst case, brings about physical and spiritual death for many, if not for all”.
The letter concludes with assurances of the bishops’ “filial prayer to Our Most Blessed Mother, Virgin of Carmen, that the people may be infused with serenity and may walk forward in peace and fraternity.”