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Pope says Chile recovery requires forgiveness

Pope John Paul II has called for national reconciliation in Chile in order to heal the wounds of the last three decades.

The aftereffects of Salvador Allende's presidency (1970-1973) and General Augusto Pinochet's military regime (1973-1990) are still felt in the South American country.

When the Pope met yesterday with Chilean bishops at the end of their five yearly visit to Rome, he referred to the crucial challenge facing the Church in their nation and urged citizens to attain "fully reconciled coexistence in which, without hiding the truth, room will be made for forgiveness."

Forgiveness "heals wounds and re-establishes, profoundly, truncated human relations," the Holy Father said.

In this context, he said, the Church "whose mission is to be an instrument of reconciliation of men with God and among themselves, must be the house and school of communion in which what is positive in the other is appreciated and accepted, and in which no one feels excluded."

The Catholic Church in Chile is committed to the Table of Dialogue, established in 1999 to promote national reconciliation.

The Church has expressed its willingness to gather information so that the families of people who "disappeared" will be able to find out what happened to their loved ones.


16 Oct 2002