.- The Archbishop of Santiago, Cardinal Javier Errázuriz and the President of the Chilean Episcopal Conference (CECH), Bishop Alejandro Goic, have sent a plea requesting that both supporters and critics of former president August Pinochet face his death with calm and respect.
Since the announcement of the former ruler’s death, several demonstrations have occurred along with many large disturbances in Santiago and Valparaiso. Several arrests have been made related to the demonstrations, according to official reports.
During the funeral Mass, celebrated at the Military School of Santiago, Cardinal Errázuriz asked for calm in the country and prayed "to the merciful Lord, the source of all goodness, that He may also forgive him and take into account all the good he did.”
He added, “we know that the higher the authority, the brighter the achievements and mistakes will shine."
Bishop Goic invited all Chileans to avoid provocations and to accept Pinochet’s death with a peaceful attitude, putting aside judgments of his character, and respecting the death of the person.
Whether in support of or opposition to Pinochet, Bishop Goic said, "the country needs to meditate this event with peace and respect. We have to be calm and have good judgment."
“Personally, I have my own opinion on the lack of respect of human dignity during his government, but the proper attitude now is to live these hours with dignity," he added.
Pinochet, who came to power after a military coup in 1973, has been accused of widespread human rights violations, both in Chile and abroad.