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Chile: bishops call for reconciliation on anniversary of Pinochet coup

Catholic World News - September 11, 2013

Forty years after General Augusto Pinochet overthrew Chilean President Salvador Allende, the bishops of Chile have called for national reconciliation.

Allende, who was the nation’s president from 1970 to 1973, was a Marxist. The Pinochet regime, which ruled Chile from 1973 to 1990, was known for its human rights violations.

“Beyond the different and legitimate reading of the facts, as pastors of the Church we want to remember this date and reflect on the dignity of the human person,” the bishops said in their statement, according to the Fides news agency.

“Motivated by this fundamental value, the Catholic Church together with other Christian churches had to assume, in a time when one abandoned dialogue, a preponderant role in the defense of human rights and protection of persecuted compatriots,” the bishops continued. “Nothing justifies the violation of human dignity perpetrated starting from 11 September 1973.”

The bishops added:

‘Truth, Justice and Reconciliation’ is the path we have proposed to have a life of dignity and human coexistence. More than ever, today we continue to believe in this path, despite the difficulties that arise. This is the path that Jesus offers us to reach the great Homeland. Reconciliation cannot be imposed by decree, but comes from a merciful heart. Our belief is that small personal and institutional gestures can be vital to help heal wounds and contribute to true reconciliation.

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