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Pope Francis: Speech To President Michelle Bachelet, Chile

Posted on Jan 16, 2018

HOLY SEE PRESS OFFICE

CHILE – Santiago – 16.01.2018 – 08.20 La Moneda Palace

Meeting with Authorities, the Civil Society and the Diplomatic Corps Speech of the Holy Father

Official Translation

Madam President,
Members of the Government of the Republic and of the Diplomatic Corps,
Representatives of Civil Society,
Distinguished Authorities,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a joy for me to stand once again on Latin American soil and begin this visit to Chile, this land so close to my heart, which welcomed and schooled me in my younger years. I would like my time with you also to be a moment of gratitude for that welcome. I think of a stanza of your national anthem: “How pure, Chile, are your blue skies / How pure the breezes that sweep across you / And your countryside embroidered with flowers / Is the very image of Eden”. It is a true song of praise for this land, so full of promises and challenges, but especially of hope for the future.

Thank you, Madam President, for your words of welcome. Through you, I would like to greet and embrace all the Chilean people, from the extreme northern region of Arica and Parinacota to the southern archipelago with its “riot of peninsulas and canals”.[1] Their rich geographical diversity gives us a glimpse of the rich cultural polyphony that is also their characteristic feature.

I am grateful for the presence of the members of the Government, the Presidents of the Senate, the Chamber of Deputies and the Supreme Court, as well as the other state authorities and their officials. I greet the President-elect, Mr Sebastián Piñera Echenique, who recently received the mandate of the Chilean people to govern the country for the next four years.

Chile has distinguished itself in recent decades by the growth of a democracy that has enabled steady progress. The recent political elections were a demonstration of the solidity and civic maturity that you have achieved, which takes on particular significance in this year marking the two-hundredth anniversary of the declaration of independence. That was a particularly important moment, for it shaped your destiny as a people founded on freedom and law, one that has faced moments of turmoil, at times painful, yet succeeded in surmounting them. In this way, you have been able to consolidate and confirm the dream of your founding fathers.

In this regard, I remember the emblematic words of Cardinal Silva Henríquez’s in a Te Deum homily: “We – all of us – are builders of the most beautiful work: our homeland. The earthly homeland that prefigures and prepares the (heavenly) homeland that has no borders. That homeland does not begin today, with us; but it cannot grow and bear fruit without us. That is why we received it with respect, with gratitude, as a task begun many years ago, as a legacy that inspires in us both pride and commitment”.[2]

Each new generation must take up the struggles and attainments of past generations, while setting its own sights even higher. Goodness, together with love, justice and solidarity, are not achieved once and for all; they have to be realized each day. It is not possible to settle for what was achieved in the past and complacently enjoy it, as if we could somehow ignore the fact that many of our brothers and sisters still endure situations of injustice that none of us can ignore.

Yours is a great and exciting challenge: to continue working to make this democracy, as your forebears dreamed, beyond its formal aspects, a true place of encounter for all. To make it a place where everyone, without exception, feels called to join in building a house, a family and a nation. A place, a house and a family called Chile: generous and welcoming, enamoured of her history, committed to social harmony in the present, and looking forward with hope to the future. Here we do well to recall the words of Saint Alberto Hurtado: “A nation, more than its borders, more than its land, its mountain ranges, its seas, more than its language or its traditions, is a mission to be fulfilled”.[3] It is a future. And that future depends in large part on the ability of its people and leaders to listen.

The ability to listen proves most important in this nation, whose ethnic, cultural and historical diversity must be preserved from all partisan spirit or attempts at domination, and inspire instead our innate ability to replace narrow ideologies with a healthy concern for the common good (which without being communitarian will never be a good). It is necessary to listen: to listen to the unemployed, who cannot support the present, much less the future of their families. To listen to the native peoples, often forgotten, whose rights and culture need to be protected lest that part of this nation’s identity and richness be lost. To listen to the migrants who knock on the doors of this country in search of a better life, but also with the strength and the hope of helping to build a better future for all. To listen to young people and their desire for greater opportunities, especially in education, so that they can take active part in building the Chile they dream of, while at the same time shielding them from the scourge of drugs that rob the best part of their lives. To listen to the elderly with their much-needed wisdom and their particular needs. We cannot abandon them. To listen to children who look out on the world with eyes full of amazement and innocence, and expect from us concrete answers for a dignified future. Here I feel bound to express my pain and shame at the irreparable damage caused to children by some ministers of the Church. I am one with my brother bishops, for it is right to ask for forgiveness and make every effort to support the victims, even as we commit ourselves to ensuring that such things do not happen again.

With this ability to listen, we are invited – especially today – to give preferential attention to our common home: to foster a culture that can care for the earth, and thus is not content with merely responding to grave ecological and environmental problems as they arise. This calls for boldly adopting “a distinctive way of looking at things, a way of thinking, policies, an educational programme, a lifestyle and a spirituality which together generate resistance to the assault of the technocratic paradigm”[4] that allows powerful economic interests to prevail over natural ecosystems and, as a result, the common good of our peoples. The wisdom of the native peoples can contribute greatly to this. From them we can learn that a people that turns its back on the land, and everything and everyone on it, will never experience real development. Chile’s possesses a deep-rooted wisdom capable of helping to transcend a merely consumerist view of life and to adopt a sage attitude to the future.

The Chilean soul is a vocation to being, a stubborn will to exist.[5] It is a vocation to which all are summoned, and from which no one should feel excluded or unneeded. A vocation that demands a radical option for life, especially in all those forms in which it is threatened.

I thank you once more for the invitation to come among you and to encounter the soul of this people. I pray that Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Mother and Queen of Chile, will continue to accompany and bring to birth the dreams of this blessed nation.

[1] GABRIELA MISTRAL, Elegios de la tierra de Chile. [2] Cf. Homily at an Ecumenical Te Deum (4 November 1970). [3] Cf. Te Deum (September 1948). [4] Cf. Encyclical Letter Laudato Si’, 111. [5] Cf. GABRIELA MISTRAL, Breve descripción de Chile, Anales de la Universidad de Chile 14, 1934.

Monsignor’s Message – The Nativity

Posted on Dec 20, 2017

This is a message from Msgr. Kieran Harrington, Vicar for Communications for the Diocese of Brooklyn that appears in The Tablet:

As we celebrate the Nativity of the Lord, let us greet the Christ child not with Gold, Frankincense or Myrrh but with acts of Charity for the hungry, thirsty, naked, ill or those in prison. These are the gifts the Lord desires from us. This is the moment of our encounter with Christ! As we contemplate the profound redeeming love of the Almighty God, let us manifest His salvific will by our service to those most in need. Merry Christmas and God Bless!

May God bless you,
Monsignor Kieran Harrington, V.E.

Monsignor’s Message – The Journey

Posted on Dec 13, 2017

This is a message from Msgr. Kieran Harrington, Vicar for Communications for the Diocese of Brooklyn that appears in The Tablet:

Next week, with our Christmas edition, I will offer my last message in these pages for the coming months. On January 1, 2018, I will be leaving Brooklyn for a six-month sabbatical. During this time, I will embark on a 30-day silent retreat with the Jesuit fathers. Following the retreat will be a course of theological update for two months at the Pontifical North American College. Immediately after Easter, I will be heading off to the Middle East to work with agencies attending to the needs of displaced and persecuted Christians. If you remember, and have a spare moment, offer a short prayer for me. And permit me to assure all our readers and viewers of a very special place in my prayers. I look forward to being back with you all in July.

May God bless you,
Monsignor Kieran Harrington, V.E.

Monsignor’s Message – The Love Of Christ

Posted on Dec 5, 2017

This is a message from Msgr. Kieran Harrington, Vicar for Communications for the Diocese of Brooklyn that appears in The Tablet:

Christmas is coming, the geese are getting fat, please put a penny in the old man’s hat…” It is funny how the songs of our childhood remain with us. As we head into this sacred time, we reflect on the gift of the incarnation and the profound love that God has for us. As we reflect on His love for us, we also think about those in need around us. Poverty manifests itself in loneliness, poor health, emotional distress, failed relationships, addiction, war and so many other ways beyond simple material need. In the coming days, perhaps we will reflect on the Christ child’s birth into the poverty of our human situation and how it is transformed and given dignity. May we also seek to manifest the love of Christ to at least one person who finds her/himself somehow impoverished.

May God bless you,
Monsignor Kieran Harrington, V.E.

Monsignor’s Message – A Great Moral Question

Posted on Nov 30, 2017

This is a message from Msgr. Kieran Harrington, Vicar for Communications for the Diocese of Brooklyn that appears in The Tablet:

Love and Peace! Just last week, the Holy Father traveled to Myanmar, the southeast Asian nation at the center of an international outcry for the “ethnic cleansing” of the Rohingya-Bangladeshi Muslim minorities. The Pope reminded the people of Myanmar that “the arduous process of peace building and national reconciliation can only be advanced through a commitment to justice and respect for human rights.” Meanwhile, in the United States, we ourselves struggle with certain efforts to withdraw legal support for 60,000 Haitians and 200,000 El Salvadorans residing here legally as a result of a 1990 era law known as TPS (Temporary Protective Status). The movement of peoples is becoming one of the great moral questions of our age. Pope Pius XII wrote, “the Lord entrusts to the Church’s motherly love every person forced to leave their homeland in search of a better future,” and Pope Francis reaffirms the obligation of every Christian “to welcome, to protect, to promote and to integrate” the stranger who knocks at our door.

May God bless you,
Monsignor Kieran Harrington, V.E.

Monsignor’s Message – Thanksgiving

Posted on Nov 22, 2017

This is a message from Msgr. Kieran Harrington, Vicar for Communications for the Diocese of Brooklyn that appears in The Tablet:

At every moment of the day, the Holy Mass is being offered somewhere in the world. This sacrifice of Christ on Calvary is made present to us in a mystical way. The Mass and the Eucharist is our celebration of giving thanks. In fact, Eucharist is Greek for Thanksgiving. Let us strive to be thankful for the blessings that the Lord has bestowed upon us each day. One way to manifest that gratitude is by our preparation for and frequency of participation at Mass. As we celebrate Christ the King Sunday, the last Sunday of the Church year, we ought not just have the name of Jesus on our lips, but redouble our efforts to manifest His sacrifice of thanksgiving in our lives. May God bless you.

May God bless you,
Monsignor Kieran Harrington, V.E.

Monsignor’s Message – Catholics Care Houston

Posted on Nov 15, 2017

This is a message from Msgr. Kieran Harrington, Vicar for Communications for the Diocese of Brooklyn that appears in The Tablet:

A small group of our brothers and sisters spent last week in Houston assisting those ravaged by the effects of Hurricane Harvey. They ripped out moldy drywall and disposed of the former treasures destroyed and waterlogged in people’s homes. Most importantly, they are a sign of our solidarity with those who grapple with the devastation of mother nature. We all were horrified by the images that we see from Texas and parts of Florida, Saint Martin, the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and everywhere else affected by the recent hurricanes. This small band of volunteers is a reminder that those suffering are not forgotten. We cannot fix all the problems of the world but we must do what we can do to make the world a better place. Our small group of Catholics Care will also be organizing a trip to Puerto Rico to assist those who lost so much. We invite you to join us on this next trip that will be announced in the coming weeks. Pray for our volunteers or make a donation to assist in the recovery efforts. We ought not celebrate Thanksgiving one day a year. Each time we assist those who are in distress we express our gratitude to Almighty God for the many blessings He has bestowed upon us.

May God bless you,
Monsignor Kieran Harrington, V.E.

Editor’s note: to make a donation, go to https://dioceseofbrooklyn.org/care

Monsignor’s Message – Veteran’s Day

Posted on Nov 7, 2017

This is a message from Msgr. Kieran Harrington, Vicar for Communications for the Diocese of Brooklyn that appears in The Tablet:

This Friday and Saturday, we celebrated Veterans Day. We all owe a huge debt of gratitude to those men and women who wore the uniform and were willing to risk all for love of country. The modern age is plagued by selfishness as well as meaninglessness. Veterans are a living reminder to us all that our own health, prosperity and happiness are not the most important values for a life well lived. A veteran’s willingness to die for fellow citizens is proof that he/she values country and others more than self. As Catholics, the sacrifice of our veterans also calls to mind those Christian missionaries who willingly endure persecution for the sake of the name of Christ. Our veterans and our missionaries are the real heroes of the present age because they call us to move beyond selfishness. Some of our soldiers have paid a terrible price and are ravaged by the effect of war. Many of our missionaries have also been scarred by torture. The veterans who sacrificed all, rest with our honored dead. The Christian missionary ranks among the martyrs and saints for all eternity.

May God bless you,
Monsignor Kieran Harrington, V.E.

Monsignor’s Message – Fall Back on God’s Plan

Posted on Oct 31, 2017

This is a message from Msgr. Kieran Harrington, Vicar for Communications for the Diocese of Brooklyn that appears in The Tablet:

This week we set our clocks back an hour. The sun sets in the early afternoon. The leaves fall from the trees. The streets are a bit more quiet and empty. During this time, the Church bids us to reflect on the final things – death, judgment, heaven and hell. For some, these mysteries may seem ominous and threatening. We, who are believers, embrace these realities. The Divine plan is for us to spend eternity with the Almighty God. Yet, we must persevere in putting into effect God’s plan. Judgment is the moment when our lives’ decisions are ratified. Are those decisions for God and His holy plan? Are they for ourselves and the idols we have constructed? We, who are believers, do not fear death because God’s will is that winter will give way to spring and we have sought to put His will into effect in our lives.

May God bless you,
Monsignor Kieran Harrington, V.E.

Monsignor’s Message – Christian Origin of Halloween

Posted on Oct 25, 2017

This is a message from Msgr. Kieran Harrington, Vicar for Communications for the Diocese of Brooklyn that appears in The Tablet:

Father Pat West is a great one for jokes. At the priest convocation he shared this one: “Where does one go to survive the zombie apocalypse?—The living room!” Many of the contemporary elements of Halloween are derived from pagan Celtic celebrations. However, with the Christianization of Ireland, the pagan rite of commemorating the dead was inculturated. Beginning on Halloween, many would abstain from meat/fast and pray for the dead over the course of three days. During these celebrations of All Saints and All Souls, we are reminded that the bonds of love do not dissolve with death. We believe in life after death. The dead will all stand before the judgement throne of Christ. What I do here and now has ramifications. Our belief in the Communion of Saints is the conviction that our prayers assist in the purification of those who have died so that they might enter into the heavenly courts and gaze upon the face of God.

May God bless you,
Monsignor Kieran Harrington, V.E.