After accepting the invitations of the two countries’ leader and their bishops, eighty-one-year-old Pope Francis will be visiting Chile and Peru from January 15th through 21st, 2018. This is his fifth visit to La n America, and his 22nd visit abroad. Since becoming Pope, he has traveled to the La n American countries of Brazil, Bolivia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Cuba, and Mexico, but is still avoiding his home country of Argentina. When the Vatican spokesman was asked about this, he cited “personal reasons.” He did say however that the Pope’s plane will fly over Argentina, and he is expected to issue a “significant message” to his native land. Up to 1 million Argentine pilgrims are expected to cross the border into Chile to catch a glimpse of their native son. Before becoming Pope, Francis lived in Chile for over a year while studying with the Jesuit order to become a priest. He will be visiting six cites: San ago, Temuco, Iquique, Lima, Puerto Maldonado and Trujillo. Highlights of the trip are expected to include some meetings with indigenous people and migrants, encounters with young people, members of Bishops Conferences, priests and religious groups. Massive crowds are expected at nearly every place he visits and to line the streets to see his Pope-mobile. He is scheduled to give 21 speeches on issues like corruption in politics, the rights of indigenous peoples and clerical sex abuse. Protests in both countries are expected similar to others around the world accusing him of not doing enough to rid the church of sexual abuse, especially of allegedly not holding bishops accountable for covering up or mishandling sexual abuse. At least three homemade bombs went off in churches in San ago the previous week causing only minor damage and no injuries. Threats to Pope Francis were found in notes. Protests are expected over a bishop that Pope Francis appointed in 2015, who is accused of covering up sexual abuse by a priest in the 1980s and 1990s. Pope Francis will visit the Jesuit Community at the St. Alberto Hurtado Shrine, a Chilean Jesuit who became the country’s first male saint when he was canonized by Pope Benedict XVI. He is scheduled to visit a women’s prison in San ago and visit the poorest area of Chile in the City of Temuco, where thousands of economic migrants have come in search of a better life. He is scheduled to lunch with eight of the Mapucho people in Chile who have grievances with the Catholic Church. He will meet with two victims of the Chile’s military dictatorship. Tens of thousands of people were killed, tortured or imprisoned for political reasons in Chile during Augusto Pinochet’s reign, and many others went into exile. The Pope’s visit to Chile is also trying to inspire sustainability: environmental, economic and social sustainability. From the environmental side, the visit is trying to have no emissions of CO2, and making the Pope’s venues cleaner after the events than before. Socially, they are making sure the disabled have front-row seats and there are translations for the hearing impaired. Economically, they want the Pope’s visit to be economically transparent, so the incomes and expenditures of the visit’s budget are to be published.
Sources: cruxnow.com, vaticannews.va, abcnews.go.com