Cardinal Celestino Aós Braco of Santiago de Chile said in a Te Deum prayer service marking the country’s independence that neither violence nor corruption will build Chile.
The prelate encouraged living centered on Christ to bear good fruit and working together for the common good.
The cardinal gave a homily at the ecumenical Te Deum that was held Sept. 18 in the Santiago Metropolitan Cathedral in the presence of the president of Chile, Gabriel Boric, and his ministers of state.
Chile’s Fiestas Patrias marks the anniversary of the first meeting of the country’s post-colonial government in 1810.
“Violence does not build. The violent neither make a present nor a future for Chile, nor do the corrupt build it,” the prelate said.
“We cannot make the other person who doesn’t think like us into an enemy. The people voted in the plebiscite and it’s wrong to do violence with insults or threats to those who voted one way or the other,” he stressed.
In a Sept. 4 plebiscite, 62% of voters rejected a draft constitution that created a right to abortion and euthanasia and was supported by Boric.
The cardinal also encouraged people to live the authentic freedom that comes from Christ, to face the current “cultural, ideological, economic, and social slaveries.”
The archbishop of Santiago stressed that the large voter turnout in the plebiscite is an impressive fact, “but political participation does not end or stop there.”
“Christians should get involved in politics because it is a lofty form of charity. Among us all we have to build Chile, a country of brothers, where no one is unnecessary and no one is marginalized,” he emphasized.
In his homily, Aós encouraged always seeking “prayer, Sunday Mass, and the sacraments, which are not a luxury, but a necessity for all” in order to bear good fruit, united with God.
“There is an unequivocal criterion, by their fruits you shall know them,” the cardinal said.
“The person who lives in violence, who slanders or insults his adversary, who violates marital fidelity, who kills life, who falsifies or lies, does he bear fruit from the good tree or from the bad tree, always peace and good, unity and harmony,” or does he produce “bitterness, disunity, hatred?” the cardinal asked.
The prelate encouraged getting involved in politics to defend the people’s essential rights, such as “dignity, the equality of citizens, seeking the common good, justice and peace, favoring democratic participation, acting with honesty and transparency in the administration of public goods, caring for and fostering life, family, marriage, the right of parents to educate their children, social justice and solidarity, and the defense of peace.”
The archbishop of Santiago noted that “religious freedom is a right of every human being.” Hostility or contempt for religion is not a healthy separation of church and state but virulent secularism, he said.
Aós said that “the big question is what kind of fruit have you borne this year, what are you going to change to bear good fruit. Faith and works are important, it’s not enough to have ideas and beliefs, you have to put them into practice.”
“Let’s not tire of doing good, because if we don’t give up we will reap the fruits at some point,” he remarked.