Santiago, Chile, Jan 12, 2018 / 14:42 pm
Just days before Pope Francis' visit to Chile, three Catholic churches in the capital of Santiago were attacked by unknown assailants.
A fourth church – Christ the Poor Man Shrine – was targeted by a bomb threat and was subsequently investigated by a bomb squad.
Hours before, Saint Elizabeth of Hungary Parish in the Estación Central district was fire bombed. The arsonists fled the scene, leaving behind messages against the Holy Father's visit to the country.
“Pope Francis, the next bombs will be in your cassock,” said a pamphlet left behind.
The community of priests that live at Saint Elizabeth's and the neighbors immediately worked to extinguish the fire, which damaged the entrance doors and several windows.
Two other chapels in the city also suffered damage, including broken windows and doors.
At some of the churches, pamphlets were left behind, saying, “We will never submit to the dominion they want to exercise over our bodies, our ideas and actions because we were born free to decide the path we want to take…We are attacking with the fire of battle, making your disgusting morals explode.”
The pamphlets also called for “autonomy and resistance” in the Mapuche conflict. The Mapuche are the largest indigenous group in the country. Many of them live in the region of Araucania, which Pope Francis will visit during his trip.