AP Photo/Esteban Felix

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis’ trip to Chile and Peru, originally aimed at featuring the plight of indigenous peoples as well as the delicate Amazon ecosystem, is being overshadowed by the Catholic Church’s dismal report on confronting priestly sex misuse in Chile and political uncertainty in Peru.

On the eve from the trip, vandals fire-bombed three chapels in the Chilean capital of Santiago and warned in a leaflet that will “the next bombs will be within your cassock. ” That was an unparalleled threat against the pope and a chaotic start to what were already anticipated to be the first-ever protests against Francis on a foreign trip.

The Vatican agreed to the Chile visit understanding that the local church had lost a lot of the moral authority it gained during the Pinochet dictatorship, when bishops spoke out against human legal rights abuses when other institutions had been silenced. But now, the Catholic Chapel in Chile has been largely marginalized, criticized as out-of-touch with all of us secular youth and discredited simply by its botched handling of a well known pedophile priest.

In Peru, Francis had hoped to highlight the necessity to protect the vast Amazon and it is native peoples. But he at this point has to contend with a president who else only narrowly escaped impeachment recently and is embroiled in a continentwide problem scandal.

Here are things to look for within Francis’ Jan. 15-21 trip, their 22nd overall and sixth in order to his home continent.


History’s first Latin American pope may meet with indigenous groups in both Chile and Peru, evidence of his historical commitment to supporting native Americans within their struggles against poverty, discrimination as well as the exploitation of their lands.

The Chilean stop is more delicate: Francis can celebrate Mass for the Mapuche within southern Araucania on Wednesday after which break bread with a dozen roughly indigenous at a private lunch.

However the visit comes as some radical Mapuche groups have been staging violent protests, occupying and burning farms, chapels and lumber trucks to need the return of their land. Protests are planned in Temuco throughout Francis’ visit, and pamphlets remaining Friday outside the burned churches within Santiago exhorted the Mapuche result in.

Chile’s largest indigenous group opposed conquest for 300 years, till military defeats in the late nineteenth century forced them into Araucania. Many Mapuche there now reside in poverty on the borders of wood company land or ranches possessed by the descendants of the Europeans who else colonized the area after the indigenous level of resistance was quelled.


Francis, in whose defense of refugees and migrant workers is well-known, is expected to deal with Chile’s growing immigrant community whenever he travels Thursday to the north city of Iquique, home to almost two dozen migrant slums. Despite the fact that its numbers are comparatively little, Chile had the fastest yearly rate of migrant growth associated with any country in Latin United states in 2010-2015, according to U. And. and church statistics.

Most of the beginners are Haitians. While Chile isn’t very experiencing the anti-immigrant backlash seen in the particular U. S. and Europe, the particular incoming right-wing government of Chief executive Sebastian Pinera is looking to break down.

In Peru, Francis may also visit Trujillo and the northern locations hard hit by floods plus mudslides last March in the most severe environmental calamity to strike Peru in nearly two decades. The Este Nino storms killed more than a hundred people and destroyed bridges, facilities and homes in hundreds of towns in an already poor area.

Peru’s president estimates it will take $9 billion dollars for the country to rebuild inside five years.


Chile’s church offers yet to recover its credibility following a scandal over the Rev. Fernando Karadima, a charismatic preacher who a new huge following in Santiago plus was responsible for training hundreds of priests and five bishops.

The Vatican in 2011 sentenced Karadima to a duration of “penance and prayer” after credit reporting what his victims had been stating for years but what Chile’s Catholic leadership refused to believe: that Karadima had sexually abused them.

Francis reopened the wounds of the scandal when in 2015 he called one of Karadima’s proteges as bishop of the southern diocese of Osorno. Karadima’s victims say Bishop Juan Barros knew about the abuse yet did nothing, a charge Barros denies.

Osorno dissidents are planning protests in Santiago to coincide along with Francis’ arrival Monday.


Francis frequently rails against corruption, contacting it more insidious than bad thing and a plague that harms the particular poorest the most.

But if he utters the word “corruption” in Peru, it provides particular significance. Last month, Chief executive Pedro Pablo Kuczynski narrowly prevented impeachment after an investigative panel revealed documents showing the B razil construction giant responsible for Latin Many biggest corruption scandal, Odebrecht, produced $782, 000 in payments in order to Kuczynski’s private consulting firm many years ago when he was a ressortchef (umgangssprachlich).

The former CEO of Odebrecht offers admitted that company executives compensated bribes and campaign contributions to obtain public works contracts around the country.

Soon after he survived the impeachment vote, Kuczynski set off protests simply by pardoning jailed former President Alberto Fujimori. Many Peruvians believe the particular pardon was done to secure assistance during the impeachment vote from a politics party led by Fujimori’s child.


When Francis flies deep to the Peruvian rainforest to meet with local peoples at the end of his trip, he could be symbolically opening a major cathedral meeting on the Amazon that is planned to start in October 2019.

Francis has called the Synod on the Amazon . com to bring bishops and cardinals through around the world to the Vatican to offer new ways to minister to Amazonian people and care for the “lung” of the Earth.

The area around Puerto Maldonado, at the confluence of 2 rivers on Peru’s southern boundary with Bolivia, has the greatest biodiversity in Peru’s Amazon, but can also be home to a logging and gold-mining industry.

In his landmark 2015 encyclical “Praise Be, ” the pope railed against the exploitation of the tour’s natural resources by wealthy multinationals at the expense of the poor plus indigenous peoples who need those sources to survive.

The archbishop of Lima, Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani, mentioned he expected the pope may speak out about the use of kid labor in Peru’s gold mines, the largest in South America, particularly when this individual visits a home for exploited kids. Just last week Francis urged government authorities to prioritize the elimination associated with child labor “in all the forms. ”