Church Urges Calm After Pinochet’s Death

SANTIAGO, Chile, DEC. 11, 2006 ( The president of the Chilean bishops’ conference urged his fellow countrymen to avoid provocations in the wake of General Augusto Pinochet’s death Sunday.

Bishop Alejandro Goic, in a statement released by the conference, said: “Beyond the historical judgment on his figure, in the face of the majesty of death inevitable for every human being, the correct attitude is one of respect. And those of us who believe, raise a prayer for his rest.”

The bishop also made a fraternal appeal to the national community to “avoid provocations, in favor and against” the former leader, added the note.

“The country needs to reflect on this event with peace and respect,” said Bishop Goic of Rancagua. “I personally have my own opinion about the lack of respect for human dignity that there was during his government. But what is in order is to live these hours with dignity.”

He also appealed for respect for the government’s decision on the funeral: “The political leaders will seek the best thing to unite Chileans.”

The bishop also reminded Chileans that “for Christians what is most important is the encounter with God, who has mercy, even on the greatest sinners.”