Three Catholic churches in the Chilean capital of Santiago have been bombed just days before Pope Francis begins his tour of the country.
The perpetrators placed incendiary devices in all three churches, and
in one left a direct threat to the Pope, saying the next bombs would be
'in your cassock'.
Chile's outgoing president Michelle Bachelet said the events were
'very strange, because it is not something that can be identified with
one specific group', the Catholic Herald reported.
She added: 'What I've been told is that, for example, [when the Pope
visited] Colombia, there were groups there with a little sign [in
protest]. In a democracy, people can express themselves as long as they
do so in a peaceful and appropriate way.'
Although authorities expect some protests over clerical sexual abuse
during the Pope's visit, this is the first direct threat of violence.
The message in the church was written in Spanish. It reads: 'We will
never submit to the dominion you want to exercise over our bodies, our
ideas and actions, because we were born free to chose the path we want
to take. Against every monk and nun and against every preacher. Bodies
free, impure and wild.'
The perpetrators said that they would attack the Pope's 'disgusting morals' with the 'fire of combat'.
The note concludes: 'Freedom to all the
political prisoners of the world! Free Wallmapu [indigenous territory]!
Autonomy and resistance! Pope Francis the next bombs will be in your
that police diffused a fourth explosive in another church, with the
assailants leaving graffiti questioning the cost of the trip when 'the
poor are dying'.
Pope Francis is due to visit Chile from 15 to 18 January.