Vandals Attack Churches In Chile 3 Days Ahead Of Pope's Visit

Vandals Attack Churches In Chile 3 Days Ahead Of Pope's Visit

Chilean President Michelle Bachelet on Friday urged the country to welcome Pope Francis in a "climate of respect" after three Catholic churches were firebombed days before the pontiff's visit. "What happened last night is very odd".

He added that he wishes to share "your joys, sorrows, difficulties and hopes, and to tell you that you are not alone, the Pope is with you, the whole Church welcomes you, the Church looks at you" and then he asked as always that they do not forget to pray for him.

Protests on issues ranging from indigenous rights to the Church's ongoing sexual abuse scandal are expected.

Vandals Attack Churches In Chile 3 Days Ahead Of Pope's Visit

Chilean police have launched investigations into the attacks in the Chilean capital, Santiago.

The group said the list represented a "fraction of the total number of accused clerics who would be known if Chile's church leaders were required to report to law enforcement, if its legal system allowed victims more time to bring criminal and civil charges, or if dioceses and religious orders were investigated by prosecutors or state commissions".

Francis will also visit the south-central city of Temuco and Iquique, which is farther north, before heading to Peru, where he will stop in Lima, Puerto Maldonado and Trujillo.

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