Chilean bishops send congratulations to country’s new Socialist President


The President of the Bishops’ Conference of Chile, Bishop Alejandro Goic Karmelic of Rancagua, together with Cardinal Francisco Javier of Santiago and other bishops, met with the President-elect of Chile, Michelle Bachelet, on Monday to congratulate her for her election as head of the Chilean government.

During the meeting, Bishop Goic assured President-elect Bachelet of “the support of the Church in all that pertains, because we believe that her government should be a very good government because that will be good for Chile.”  “From our perspective as pastors we are going to pray that the government be successful and so that hopefully with the new government, as we approach the bicentennial anniversary, even the most dispossessed people of our country can resolve their problems at least in part,” Bishop Goic added.

Bishop Goic also noted that Bachelet’s victory speech was “very inclusive and revealed part of her personal life and her interior attitude and profound capacity to love and forgive in response to the personal dramas she has experienced.  The emotional memory of her father, whose closeness she said she felt, was also something that touched us deeply.  For us that was an expression of faith,” he continued.

Cardinal Errazuriz said the bishops were pleased with the election because the Chilean people have chosen someone who is “a symbol of coming together for Chileans, a symbol of peace among us, of a reconciled country.  Someone assailed by hatred but who preferred to overcome that hatred through understanding, tolerance and—as she said—and ‘why not say it, through love’.  I think she is a sign of great hope.”

Likewise the cardinal noted that in some sense “Chile has expressed the recognition and gratitude it has for women.  Chile has lived it through the action of women at home, through the raising of children, through the transmission of culture and faith. And I hoped that in some way those values would be expressed in a spiritual maternity with regards to the country, and that what women have been to our country both in public and professional life, what they have done up to now, would be recognized.  I think she is also a sign of the value of women in our country.”  Lastly, Cardinal

Lastly, Cardinal Errazuriz said he hoped the closeness Bachelet feels with the poor, the marginalized and the family “would be expressed in the many areas in which she is looking out for the good of persons who, up to now, may have felt marginalized.”

President-elect Bachelet thanked the bishops for the visit and their good wishes.  “We are all Chile and I am the President of all Chileans,” she said.

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