When he learned he was to be prosecuted, Bishop Bastres recalled, he was “disconcerted” because, he said, “I perceived it as the ‘coup de grace’ that ‘finished me off’ in the media, giving free rein to all kinds of judgments and speculation.”
In the 27 days that he was unable to publicly exercise the priestly ministry after the trial began, the prelate said he asked God “to clear things up, so that, knowing the truth, justice would be served.”
Bishop Bastres also expressed his pain for the other priests, who “have had to bear a burden that did not conform to the truth” and “endure criticism and misunderstanding.”
The prelate also lamented the suffering of the current bishop, Óscar Hernán Blanco, and the faithful of the diocese, “who did not deserve such an affront.”
Finally, he said that “in light of the truth, we hope that the community can continue, without this cloud of doubts and misunderstandings, its mission of announcing the Good News to everyone, especially those who need it most.”
Respecting the court decisions
The Diocese of Punta Arenas issued a statement calling for respect for judicial decisions and due process.
In its message, the diocese said that “like all citizens, the members of the Church must cooperate in the investigations to which they are enjoined.”
Given the gravity of the situation, the Chilean diocese encouraged “proceeding with the necessary rigor in the search for justice,” and reaffirmed the hope of “knowing the truth about the grievous disappearance of young Ricardo Harex.”
This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.