.- The president of the Chilean Bishops’ Conference, Bishop Alejandro Goic, came to the defense of priests in his country and expressed regret that Chile’s Minister of Education is not aware of the work priests are doing.
During the congress “Young People and Politics,” organized by the University of the Andes, Education Minister Yasna Provoste said, “I have never seen any Church leader knocking on a citizen’s door.”
Bishop Goic called the official’s statement “profoundly regrettable.”
“I think Madame Provoste is ignorant of the work of each pastor, who knows his people, and of the bishops in the pastoral visits we make to each of the parishes in our ecclesiastical jurisdiction. We must be in permanent contact with our people,” he said.
“With all due respect, I think very few are as aware of the reality people face as the priests of Chile and the bishops in their respective jurisdictions,” Bishop Goic added.
Conservative congressional leaders also voiced their rejection of Provoste’s comments and expressed their support of the Church.
“It is regrettable that certain individuals who only mingle with the people when they are going door to door before elections come out and criticize institutions that work so closely with the community and that carry out such important social work in our country, as the Catholic Church and other religious groups do. It is an embarrassment to see a government official launch a campaign against the Church, making such serious charges as the ones she has made,” said Marcelo Forni of the conservative Independent Democratic Union Party.