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Archbishop asks president-elect Boric to recognize Chile’s ‘religious soul’

December 21, 2021 Catholic News Agency 0
Gabriel Boric, who won the 2021 Chilean presidential election, speaks after a candidates’ debate, Oct. 10, 2021. / Mediabanco Agencia via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Concepción, Chile, Dec 21, 2021 / 14:22 pm (CNA).

Archbishop Fernando Natalio Chomali Garib of Concepción has expressed his hope that Gabriel Boric Font, Chile’s president elect, “will recognize and value the religious soul of the Chilean people.”

Boric, of the Apruebo Dignidad alliance, won the Dec. 19 runoff presidential election.

Out of almost 15 million registered voters in the country and abroad, about 8.3 million people voted. Of these, Boric won 55.87% or about 4.6 million votes; while his opponent José Antonio Kast of the Christian Social Front coalition won 44.13% or about 3.6 million votes.

The 35-year-old president-elect will succeed Sebastián Piñera in March 2022 and will serve a four year term. In his campaign platform Boric proposed the incorporation of a feminist perspective, the implementation of policies such as “legal, free and safe abortion on demand”, and changes to the gender identity law.

To carry out his political agenda, Boric will have to negotiate with the Senate, whose political affiliations lean slightly to the right.

In the Chamber of Deputies, 44% of the 155 representatives are on the right of the political spectrum and the rest consists of the left and other parties.

Archbishop Chomali, who is vice president of the Chilean Bishops’ Conference’s Standing Committee, told the El Mercurio newspaper Dec. 20 that he hopes Boric “will recognize the immense work that the Church and so many other institutions do” and that the new president will value “the family as the place where people learn to grow”  and as such is an “irreplaceable source of happiness.”

The prelate said he hopes Boric will act decisively on behalf of the vulnerable such as the unborn child in the womb, the patient in a hospital bed, the immigrant on the border without documents, the homeless, or the disabled.

Archbishop Chomali also encouraged Boric to promote employment, “because it is a privileged path to overcome the poverty that afflicts so many Chileans.”

“I hope he sets an example of probity and works on everything necessary to end corruption, cronyism and quotas of all kinds as they are a significant source of injustice,” he added.

The Archbishop of Concepción said he hopes Boric “will never under any circumstances endorse violence in any form, wherever it comes from.”

“Lastly, I hope it goes well for him in his presidential term,” Archbishop Chomali concluded.

The Chilean Bishops’ Conference  reminded the president-elect that the “country has expressed a vote of confidence and entrusts you with a great mission, destined to direct the destiny of our country as its first authority and first servant.”

“We pray that God will give you his wisdom and his strength, which you will undoubtedly need,” the conference said.

“The mission is always greater than our possibilities and capabilities, but we trust that—with the collaboration of citizens, the work of various social and political actors, and the spiritual strength that comes from faith and from the deepest human convictions—you can face your task with generosity, commitment and prudence,”

The bishops also said that the Catholic Church in Chile “wants to continue contributing, from its particular mission, to building a more just and fraternal humanity, where especially the poor and those who suffer are respected in their dignity.”

“Count on our support and prayer, and on the contribution of our pastoral action, which we will always develop with due respect for the democratic order of our country and its legitimately elected authorities,” the message concluded.


The Dispatch

Pro-life candidate defeated by pro-abortion rival Gabriel Boric in Chile’s presidential election

December 20, 2021 Catholic News Agency 1
Gabriel Boric, who won the 2021 Chilean presidential election, speaks after a candidates’ debate, Oct. 10, 2021. / Mediabanco Agencia via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Santiago, Chile, Dec 20, 2021 / 12:00 pm (CNA).

José Antonio Kast, a lawyer and pro-life Catholic politician, conceded defeat Dec. 19 to leftist candidate Gabriel Boric, a proponent of elective abortion, in Chile’s runoff presidential election.

“I just spoke with Gabriel Boric and congratulated him on his great victory. As of today he is the President-elect of Chile and deserves all our respect and constructive collaboration. Chile is always first,” Kast, of the Christian Social Front, wrote on Twitter.

With 98.76% of the votes counted, Boric led with 55.85% compared to 44.15% for Kast, a difference of almost 11 points.

During his campaign, Kast, 55, proposed different strategies to protect life from conception to natural death, to reinforce the preferential right of parents to educate their children, and to recognize the culture and identity of indigenous people.

In his campaign, Boric, of the Apruebo Dignidad alliance, promised to incorporate a comprehensive feminist perspective, to implement such policies as “legal, free and safe abortion on demand,” and changes to the gender identity law.

Boric is 35 years old, the minimum age to run for president. He is single and studied law at the University of Chile, but did not receive a degree.

As president of the Student Center of the Faculty of Law, he led the takeover of one of the university buildings to demand the departure of the dean at that time.

In 2011, he became spokesman for the Chilean Student Confederation during student protests in which thousands of young people took to the streets demanding educational reforms.

Boric is in his second term as a representative in the Chamber of Deputies and during  the civil unrest of 2019 he signed the “Agreement for Peace” to accept the demands of citizens regarding the lack of public policies for a more decent life, which led to the Constitutional Convention now working on a new constitution.

Before the presidential election, the Standing Committee of the Chilean Bishops’ Conference issued a statement Dec. 16 offering their prayers for whomever would be the next president, calling on him to “govern for all Chileans, seeking paths of dialogue, agreement, justice and fraternity.”

The Standing Committee called on both candidates to “honor democratic values, accept the decision of the citizens and to work together from their place, to build a political community whose soul is social charity.” 

“As Christmas approaches, we invite you to pray for the unity of our country, contemplating God with us who assumes our human condition so we may live as brothers. May the song that resounds these days: ‘Glory to God in heaven and on earth peace to the men loved by Him’ encourage us in the challenge of being peacemakers” the Standing Committee concluded.

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