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Chile’s bishops offer prayers, social teaching as constitutional convention begins

July 06, 2021

As delegates to Chile’s Constitutional Convention met for the first time on July 4 to draft a new constitution for the South American nation, the nation’s bishops called for prayer.

The bishops asked that this prayer be offered at all Sunday Masses:

We pray to you, Lord, for all those people who, as members of the Constitutional Convention, begin today to draft a new political constitution for our country. Send them the Holy Spirit to assist them with his gifts, so that they can listen, dialogue and propose a new constitution that protects the common good, based on peace and justice.

In an October 2020 plebiscite, 78% of voters approved the drafting of a new constitution to replace the constitution approved in 1980, during the military regime led by Augusto Pinochet. The plebiscite followed massive protests, and police clashed with protestors as the convention met.

In their contribution to the convention, the bishops published a 57-page document, “Principles and Values of the Social Teaching of the Church,” in which the bishops proposed “the treasure of wisdom and humanity that [the Church] received from Jesus Christ, and offers it to believers and non-believers, in the conviction that these teachings shed light on social problems in the light of God.”

The eight principles discussed in the document are the dignity of the human person, the common good, solidarity, subsidiarity, the universal destination of goods, the preferential option for the poor, participation, and dialogue. The nine values are life, family, the political community, human rights, the environment, peace, work, the international community, and economic life.

61% of the nation’s 18.2 million people are Catholic, and 27% are Protestant. In 2018, all of the nation’s bishops offered their resignations to Pope Francis at a meeting at the Vatican devoted to the abuse scandal. The Pope did not accept the majority of resignations, though in the past three years, he has appointed ten bishops for the nation’s 27 sees, with an additional three sees currently vacant.

 


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