Duringhis Te Deum homily at the Cathedral of Santiago for the installation of Chile’s new president, Michelle Bachelet, Cardinal Javier Errazuriz said that “With trust we pray to God that our leaders and legislators will always protect the sacred gift of life, and that we all may learn to properly respect each human existence.”
The cardinal said respect for life must always be extended, particularly to the sick, the handicapped and the defenseless, “so that each human life maybe desired and loved.”
“Considering that the right to life is the foundation of all other human rights,” Cardinal Errazuriz said, “how can we show scorn for a life? How can we not allow it to be born? How can we cut it off when it is defenseless?” Likewise he wondered aloud how it was possible for one person to determine whether or not another has the right to live or whether or not their life would be of value.
“How can we ignore some lives and even mistreat them, as if some deserved respect and others didn’t,” he asked. “The 20th century is, among other things, a painful documentary of the terrible injustices which provoked such discrimination.”
Cardinal Errazuriz also emphasized the role of fatherhood and motherhood in society, which, he said, imply “a strong commitment to that joint collaboration between man and woman—affectionate and at the same time reciprocal—that is the family, the source and sanctuary of life.”
The cardinal also noted the problems that arise when married couples close themselves off to the “fruit of their love—their children” and called on the country’s new leaders, “alerted by the last census and providing the valuable service that they wish to offer to women and the family,” to encourage “a change in this situation. To God we pray for the necessary wisdom for this,” he said.
Cardinal Errazuriz also expressed the Church’s best wishes for the new Chilean president and that “God would grant her collaborators who enjoy the respect and gratitude of all Chileans,” and that in the midst of a cultural globalization, with its advances and its setbacks, the country might yet preserve its values, culture and institutions while learning at the same time from other countries in a spirit of dialogue and collaboration and in “fidelity to Chile’s tradition of honesty, sobriety, family life, and religiosity.”