Chile bishop asks faithful not to yield to hatred after third policeman killed in a month

Chile Carabineros Carabineros at the funeral Mass for 1st Cpl. Daniel Rodrigo Palma Yáñez, who was killed in the line of duty April 5, 2023. | Credit: Twitter Carabineros de Chile

At a heavily attended Mass in the Rancagua, Chile, cathedral, police officers, officials, family members, and the faithful bid their last farewell to 1st Cpl. Daniel Rodrigo Palma Yáñez, who was killed in the line of duty.

Palma was murdered the night of April 5 when he responded to an emergency call. While trying to inspect a vehicle, he was shot twice. One of the bullets struck him in the head, and although he received medical attention, he died hours later at the hospital.

Palma was 33 years old, the father of a 4-year-old boy, and his wife, also a police officer, is pregnant. He is the third member of the Carabineros (national police) killed in a month’s time.

During the Mass, the victim was posthumously promoted to Non-Commissioned Officer, and it was announced that Police Station No. 4 of Santiago will be renamed “Non-Commissioned Officer Daniel Palma Yáñez.”

Hundreds of people escorted the funeral procession through the streets of the city to Rancagua cemetery No. 2.

The bishop for the military, Pedro Ossandón, published a letter on the tragedy addressed to the Carabineros of Chile.

Ossandón said that “the heartbreaking death” of the first corporal “is linked to the passion, death, and resurrection of our Savior, Jesus Christ, the Lord.”

“Merciful God receives our new martyr and gives consolation and strength to his beloved family and his beloved institution,” he prayed.

“We all unite in prayer and a renewed commitment to service to the community. The sacrifice of 1st Cpl. Daniel Palma pains us deeply and at the same time, thanks to Jesus who defeated death and hatred, he lifts us up to continue caring for the Chilean family,” he said.

“The homeland needs the Carbineros every day and throughout the national territory,” the bishop said, sending his blessing.

The afternoon of April 6, a responsum was prayed in the Military Cathedral with the presence of President Gabriel Boric and government officials, including three former presidents: Sebastián Piñera, Michelle Bachelet, and Ricardo Lagos.

Boric announced that $1.5 billion will be allocated to strengthening police efforts against organized crime.

The murders of three policemen in the last month have caused great consternation among Chileans, who have demonstrated in support of the police.

In the Diocese of Valparaíso, Bishop Jorge Vega Velasco, SVD, visited the local Carbineros police chief, General Edgar Jofré Peña, to whom he offered his accompaniment and consolation in the face of the events.

“Today the Chilean people ask for peace, and the government urgently needs to address this pain,” the prelate said.

The bishop of Chillán, Sergio Pérez de Arce, secretary general of the Chilean Bishops’ Conference, offered a Mass on April 6 in homage to Palma in which police chiefs, regional and community officials, and a large number of faithful participated.

In his homily, he acknowledged that “it is difficult to say a word to bring clarity to a moment as sad and reprehensible as the death of 1st Cpl. Daniel Palma.”

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The bishop asked the faithful to not give in “to hatred and despair” in the face of the difficult days “of sadness and tension” that the country is going through.

He also called for “fighting crime firmly, decisively, improving what is necessary, putting in the resources” but avoiding hatred, aggressiveness, and “useless grudges.”

Chile is currently experiencing an upsurge in crime.

On March 12, 1st Cpl. Álex Salazar Rodríguez was run over in the town of Concepción by the driver during a traffic stop. He later died of his injuries.

2nd Sgt. Rita Olivares Raio was shot and killed March 26 in a police confrontation with armed robbers in the town of Quilpué.

According to T13 news, six police officers have been killed in the country in the last 11 months, including the three most recently.

This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.

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