This site uses cookies to store information on your computer. By using this site, you consent to the placement and use of these cookies. Read our Privacy Policy to learn more. ACCEPT

Pope Francis Speaks At The Female Central Penitentiary, Chile

Posted on Jan 16, 2018

HOLY SEE PRESS OFFICE

CHILE – Santiago – 16.01.2018 – Female Central Penitentiary

Official Translation

Dear Sisters and Brothers:

Thank you for giving me this opportunity to visit you. For me it is important to share this time with you and draw closer to our many brothers and sisters presently deprived of their freedom. Thank you, Sister Nelly, for your kind words and especially for testifying that life always triumphs over death. Thank you, Janeth, for coming forward and sharing your hurt with all of us, and for your courageous request for forgiveness. How much we all have to learn from your act of courage and humility! I quote your words: “We ask forgiveness from all those whom we have harmed by our misdeeds”. I thank you for reminding us that without this attitude we lose our humanity. We forget that we did wrong and that every day is an invitation to start over.

I also think of the words of Jesus: “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone” (Jn 8:7). Jesus asks us to leave behind the simplistic way of thinking that divides reality into good and bad, and to enter into that other mindset that recognizes our weaknesses, limitations and even sins, and thus helps us to keep moving forward.

As I came in, two mothers met me with their children and some flowers. They were the ones who welcomed me, and their welcome can nicely be expressed in three words: mother, children and flowers.

Mother. Many of you are mothers and you know what it means to bring a new life into the world. You were able to “take upon yourself” a new life and bring it to birth. Motherhood is not, and never will be a problem. It is a gift, and one of the most wonderful gifts you can ever have. Today you face a very real challenge: you also have to care for that life. You are asked to care for the future. To make it grow and to help it to develop. Not just for yourselves, but for your children and for society as a whole. As women, you have an incredible ability to adapt to new circumstances and move forward. Today I appeal to that ability to bring forth the future that is alive in each one of you. That ability enables you to resist everything that might rob you of your identity and end up by killing your hope.

Janeth was right: losing our freedom does not mean losing our dreams and hopes. Losing our freedom is not the same thing as losing our dignity. That is why we need to reject all those petty clichés that tell us we can’t change, that it’s not worth trying, that nothing will make a difference. No, dear sisters! Some things do make a difference! All those efforts we make to build for a better future – even if often it seems they just go down the drain – all of them will surely bear fruit and be rewarded.

The second word is children. Children are our strength, our future, our incentive. They are a living reminder that life has to be lived for the future, not remain in the past. Today your freedom has been taken away, but that is not the last word. Not at all! Keep looking forward. Look ahead to the day when you will return to life in society. For this reason, I applaud and encourage every effort to spread and support projects like Espacio Mandela and the Fundación Mujer levántate.

The name of that Foundation makes me think of the Gospel passage where people laughed at Jesus because he said that the daughter of the synagogue leader wasn’t dead, but only asleep. Jesus showed us how to meet that kind of derision: he went straight to her room, took her by the hand and said: “Little girl, get up!” (Mk 5:41). Projects like those I mentioned are a living sign of Jesus, who enters into each of our homes, pays no attention to ridicule and never gives up. He takes us by the hand and tells us to “get up”. It is wonderful that so many Christians and people of good will follow in the footsteps of Jesus and decide to come here to be a sign of that outstretched hand us that lifts us up.

We all know that, sadly, a jail sentence is very often simply a punishment, offering no opportunities for personal growth. This is not good. On the contrary, those initiatives that offer job training and help to rebuild relationships are signs of hope for the future. Let us help them to grow. Public order must not be reduced to stronger security measures, but should be concerned primarily with preventive measures, such as work, education, and greater community involvement.

Lastly, flowers. I believe that life itself “flowers” and shows us all its beauty when we work together, hand in hand, to make things better, to open up new possibilities. With this in mind, I greet all the pastoral workers, volunteers and professional personnel, especially the police officers and their families. I pray for you. Your work is sensitive and complex, and so I ask the authorities to try to provide you too with the conditions needed to carry out your work with dignity. A dignity that engenders dignity.

Mary is our Mother and we are her children, you are her daughters. We ask her to intercede for you, for each of your children and your dear ones. May she cover you with her mantle. And I ask you, please, not to forget to pray for me.

The flowers you have given me, I will bring to the Blessed Virgin in the name of all of you. Once again, many thanks!

Pope Francis Homily: O’Higgins Park, Chile

Posted on Jan 16, 2018

HOLY SEE PRESS OFFICE

CHILE – Santiago – O’Higgins Park Holy Mass Homily of the Holy Father

Official Translation

“When Jesus saw the crowds…” (Mt 5:1). In these first words of today’s Gospel we discover how Jesus wants to encounter us, the way that God always surprises his people (cf. Ex 3:7). The first thing Jesus does is to look out and see the faces of his people. Those faces awaken God’s visceral love. Jesus’ heart was not moved by ideas or concepts, but by faces, persons. By life calling out for the Life that the Father wants to give us.

When Jesus saw the crowds, he saw the faces of his followers, and what is most remarkable is that they, for their part, encounter in the gaze of Jesus the echo of their longings and aspirations. This encounter gives rise to the catalogue of the Beatitudes, that horizon towards which we are called and challenged to set out. The Beatitudes are not the fruit of passivity in the face of reality, nor of a mere onlooker gathering grim statistics about current events. They are not the product of those prophets of doom who seek only to spread dismay. Nor are they born of those mirages that promise happiness with a single “click”, in the blink of an eye. Rather, the Beatitudes are born of the compassionate heart of Jesus, which encounters the hearts of men and women seeking and yearning for a life of happiness. Men women who know what it is to suffer, who appreciate the confusion and pain of having the earth shake beneath their feet or seeing dreams washed away when the work of a lifetime comes to nought. But men and women who also know what it is to persevere and struggle to keep going, what it is to rebuild their lives and to start again.

How much the heart of the Chilean people knows about rebuilding and starting anew! How much you know about getting up again after so many falls! That is the heart to which Jesus speaks; that is the heart for which the Beatitudes are meant!

The Beatitudes are not the fruit of a hypercritical attitude or the “cheap words” of those who think they know it all yet are unwilling to commit themselves to anything or anyone, and thus end up preventing any chance of generating processes of change and reconstruction in our communities and in our lives. The Beatitudes are born of a merciful heart that never loses hope. A heart that experiences hope as “a new day, a casting out of inertia, a shaking off of weariness and negativity” (Pablo Neruda, El habitante y su esperanza, 5).

Jesus, in proclaiming blessed the poor, the grieving, the afflicted, the patient, the merciful… comes to cast out the inertia which paralyzes those who no longer have faith in the transforming power of God our Father and in their brothers and sisters, especially the most vulnerable and outcast. Jesus, in proclaiming the Beatitudes, shakes us out of that negativity, that sense of resignation that makes us think we can have a better life if we escape from our problems, shun others, hide within our comfortable existence, dulling our senses with consumerism (cf. Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, 2). The sense of resignation that tends to isolate us from others, to divide and separate us, to blind us to life around us and to the suffering of others.

The Beatitudes are that new day for all those who look to the future, who continue to dream, who allow themselves to be touched and sent forth by the Spirit of God.

How good it is for us to think that Jesus comes from the mountain of Cierro Renca or Puntilla to say to us: blessed, blessed indeed are you, and you, and you…. Blessed are you if, moved by the Spirit of God, you struggle and work for that new day, that new Chile, for yours will be the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God” (Mt 5:9).

Against the resignation that like a negative undercurrent undermines our deepest relationships and divides us, Jesus tells us: Blessed are those who work for reconciliation. Blessed are those ready to dirty their hands so that others can live in peace. Blessed are those who try not to sow division. That is how the Beatitude teaches us to be peacemakers. It asks us to try to make ever greater room for the spirit of reconciliation in our midst. Do you want to be blessed? Do you want to be happy? Blessed are those who work so that others can be happy. Do you want peace? Then work for peace.

Here I cannot fail to mention Santiago’s great bishop, who in a Te Deum once said: “If you want peace, work for justice”… And if someone should ask us: “What is justice?” or whether justice is only a matter of “not stealing”, we will tell them that there is another kind of justice: the justice that demands that every man and woman be treated as such” (Cardinal RAÚL SILVA HENRÍQUEZ, Homily at the Ecumenical Te Deum, 18 September 1977).

To sow peace by nearness, closeness! By coming out of our homes and looking at peoples’ faces, by going out of our way to meet someone having a difficult time, someone who has not been treated as a person, as a worthy son or daughter of this land. This is the only way we must forge a future of peace, to weave a fabric that will not unravel. A peacemaker knows that it is often necessary to overcome great or subtle faults and ambitions born of the desire for power and to “gain a name for oneself”, the desire to be important at the cost of others. A peacemaker knows that it is not enough simply to say: “I am not hurting anybody”. As Saint Alberto Hurtado used to say: “It is very good not to do wrong, but very bad not to do good” (Meditación radial, April 1944).

Peacebuilding is a process that calls us together and stimulates our creativity in fostering relationships where we see our neighbour not as a stranger, unknown, but rather as a son and daughter of this land.

Let us commend ourselves to Mary Immaculate, who from Cerro San Cristóbal watches over and accompanies this city. May she help us to live and to desire the spirit of the Beatitudes, so that on every corner of this city we will hear, like a gentle whisper: ““Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God” (Mt 5:9)

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.