Chile government guarantees Pope's safety despite church attacks

Sunday, 14 Jan, 2018

The archbishop of Lima, Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani, said he expected the pope might speak out about the use of child labor in Peru's gold mines, the largest in South America, particularly when he visits a home for exploited children.

In a sense, every papal liturgy in St. Peter's Basilica has symbolic value, but rarely was that symbolism more overtly on display than on Sunday, when Pope Francis led a Mass for the Catholic Church's January 14 World Day of Migrants and Refugees.

"The sin is to allow these fears to determine our responses, to limit our choices, to compromise respect and generosity, to feed hostility and rejection", he continued.

For the migrants and refugees, he said, that includes learning about and respecting the laws and customs of their host countries.

Similarly, he said, newcomers also are afraid: "of confrontation, judgment, discrimination, failure".

Argentina-born Francis, who was the first non-European elected to the post in almost 1,300 years, has criticized President Donald Trump's stated intention to build a wall to stop illegal migrants crossing the United States border with Mexico.

The pamphlet that threatened the pope mentioned the Mapuche cause and called for the liberation of "all political prisoners in the world".

For host societies, Francis urged them "to open themselves without prejudice to their rich diversity [of migrants and refugees], to understand the hopes and potential of the newly arrived as well as their fears and vulnerabilities".

Francis, who hails from Argentina and is the first Latin American pope, will arrive in Chile on Monday.

The letter, which was released by the Presidential Office on Friday, was in recognition of the pope's support of migrants and refugees in his message for this year's World Day of Peace titled "Migrants and Refugees: Men and Women in Search of Peace".

Francis reopened the wounds of the scandal when in 2015 he named one of Karadima's proteges as bishop of the southern diocese of Osorno.

Earlier this week police said 18,000 officers would be deployed during Francis' visits to Santiago, Temuco and the northern city of Iquique.

Barros has been accused of protecting his former mentor, Father Fernando Karadima, whom a Vatican investigation in 2011 found guilty of abusing teenage boys over many years. Barros denies the claim.

A poll by Santiago-based think tank Latinobarometro this month showed that the number of Chileans calling themselves Catholics fell to 45 percent a year ago, from 74 percent in 1995.

Demonstrators used firebombs to attack four churches in the capital Santiago on Friday, leaving behind a note warning the pope: "The next bomb will be in your robe", according to Latin American broadcaster Telesur.

Chilean President Michelle Bachelet described the attacks as "very strange" and said authorities had been unable to tie the incidents to a "particular group" so far, Telesur reported.

The pamphlets mentioned the Mapuche indigenous people, who are asking the government to return their ancestral lands and give them some rights.