In Chile, the Catholic Church has had to accept a great loss of trust in the wake of numerous abuse scandals in recent years. Although official figures indicate that two-thirds of the 17.9 million Chileans are still Catholic, surveys reveal that the proportion of Catholics has dropped to 45%. Despite the crisis of confidence, many believers are still very committed to participating in church life.
ACN supports the building of chapels, the training and further education of priests and their support through Mass stipends in Chile. Catechetical material as well as editions of YOUCAT and DOCAT are also provided. In autumn 2019, after a rise in prices for public transport, protests broke out in Chile decrying social inequality in the country, which then escalated into excessive violence.
The Catholic Church was also the target of resentment and hatred from some groups of demonstrators. Between mid-October and the end of 2019, some 40 places of worship were damaged by vandalism and arson attacks. ACN was also affected by a serious attack on 8 November on the Church of the Assumption in the capital, Santiago.
We are gravely concerned about the violence that is also directed against the Church.María Covarrubias, President of ACN Chile
The church’s priest, Pedro Narbona, is also the spiritual advisor to the Chilean national office of our foundation. The church was attacked by masked men; pews and holy images were thrown into the street, smashed and set on fire, and the walls were smeared with offensive graffiti. The Catholic Church in Chile publicly called for peace and reconciliation in the country.