SANTIAGO, Chile (CNS) — Under strong security measures, Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati Andrello led the traditional ecumenical “Te Deum” service Sept. 18 to celebrate Chile’s national holidays and urged people to change their ways to dispel fear.
Before a metropolitan cathedral packed with government officials — among them President Michelle Bachelet, congressmen and military — and leaders of other religious faiths, the cardinal referred to the bombing at the Escuela Militar subway station that injured 14 people Sept. 8.
“Signs of concern have sprouted in our coexistence: the drugs poisoning the soul and life of many young people, and the violence of bombings that produce insecurity and fears,” said Cardinal Ezzati, who asked the authorities to face these problems together.
“This new chapter in our country’s history demands of us a new way of living: more welcoming, more inclusive, to dispel the distrust and fear; a more participatory way to solve the current challenges, allowing the dialogue,” he added.
His speech came hours after the arrest of three suspects in the subway bombing.
The Sept. 8 blast was one of 30 attacks in 2014 involving improvised explosive devices. One such device exploded at the front of historic Santa Ana Church early July 22, causing damage to the front door but no injuries. On March 29, police found a bomb at another Chilean parish.
The government is reviewing the country’s anti-terrorism law because of the difficulty of proving the intent of perpetrators to cause terror in the population and the government’s pledge not to apply the law to social conflicts.
The Bachelet administration also has announced the government’s intention to give the local intelligence agency more tools to prevent attacks by inserting undercover agents into suspicious groups.