By Ross Brown / Santiago Times Staff
Pope Francis sent his condolences to the victims and survivors of one of the worst wildfires in Chile’s history.
Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state, expressed the pope’s sentiments in a message to Bishop Santiago Silva Retamales of the Military Ordinariate of Chile.
Pope Francis, the message said, wanted to convey “his condolences to the families of the victims and expressed his spiritual closeness to the wounded and those who suffer the consequences of this catastrophe.”
The pope also prayed that God would give the victims “strength and consolation” while inspiring “in everyone feelings of solidarity” so they may work together “to lessen the pain and overcome adversities.”
The pope met privately with Archbishop Ivo Scapolo, apostolic nuncio to Chile.
At least 11 people have been killed and thousands displaced in a chain of worst wildfires in half a century.
The burn area has doubled over the past two days, according to the national forestry agency CONAF.
Firefighters and experts from the United States, France, Peru and Mexico are helping to fight the wildfires.