Another church burned in Chile

A Catholic Church in central Chile was attacked and set alight by a group of eight masked and armed men.

According to the Chilean press, the attackers left pamphlets and a banner claiming the attack and warning about future violent actions. “Every bullet you fire will be returned. Temucuicui resists.” The message was signed by a militant group that claims to defend the rights of the indigenous Mapuche people and has been responsible for other attacks in the past.

The flames consumed the building in a matter of minutes, earller this month, leaving the community, which is mostly made up of Mapuche families, without a formal place of worship. The small chapel had been built in 1952 by local villagers.

The incident at the chapel is only the latest in a series of attacks on sacred Christian sites in Chile. According to ACN’s Religious Freedom Report for 2021, 59 churches were damaged or vandalised across Chile between October 2019 and October 2020, six of these were Protestant, and 53 were Catholic. Although the figures have not been officially updated since then, it is widely recognised that the number has increased significantly.