CHILE, Patricio Young •
In Chile we find ourselves in a decisive moment of our national history. The ground has broken away from under our feet; we are aghast at what is happening on the streets of our country. We have seen demands being made from all sides. The young people from the upper classes, who are being interviewed on TV, express their solidarity with the demonstrators, saying that their privileges cause them pain and that is why they are also joining the demonstrators.—
Today there seems to be general consensus that the cause of the unrest is the huge social inequality we have built up, and that shows in so many ways.
But where is Schoenstatt in it all? We say that on account of the mission of 31 May we have to care about attachments and bonding: with God, with nature, with society. However, the subject of attachments seems to concentrate mainly on the personal level, and very little on the social.
Let us say things clearly. It is necessary to take a stand to reality, no matter how hard that may be. However, there is no more time for euphemisms, calming words or simple excuses.
Where do we stand and what are we doing?
We are an upper class Movement. We consist mainly of families belonging to the middle, upper and top classes. Except for Carrascal, our shrines have been built in privileged suburbs. Our Father would only have been able to attend school in the Father Kentenich School in Puente Alto (a socially deprived area), the only one that is absolutely free. In our other schools there are a few students on bursaries, but the majority of the children are from the upper classes. One or the other Schoenstatt Father whom I have questioned was not pleased that I did, but not one denied it.
Despite the financial resources of the Family, Maria Ayuda (a Schoenstatt NGO rescuing and educating young people at risk) is not swimming in money, but has to work miracles in order to survive.
Some years ago I was speaking about the situation of the Family Federation in the Santiago area to a member of our Family, who has been with us for over fifty years, and I was told it was difficult to find people take on leadership tasks, because of the costs. After all, we have to work hard to earn an average income of 6 million Pesos a month (US$ 8245 or €7450 or £6438), he said.
After this conversation I became deeply depressed. Where is our heart?
As long as Schoenstatt as a Family does not get socially involved in practice …
As long as Schoenstatt, as a Family, does not get socially involved in practice (not just through the Pilgrim Mother Apostolate or with the Madrugadores), we do not see all the dimensions of the reality. There is a Chile we don’t know and with which we within the Family are not in dialogue. Some of us visit this other Chile from time to time, for example during the Family Missions. However that isn’t enough. We have to work for shrines in La Pintana, Chima, Valparaiso, and not for one in the suburbs of the upper class. If Schoenstatters from there want to build, they should do so in an unsophisticated suburb, not on their doorsteps.
It is necessary to integrate this other Chile into the Family. Otherwise we will continue to live in a bubble. We will continue to be a ghetto, which is something our Father detested.
This is where our solidarity and our esteem for attachments in all their dimensions have to show. This is the time in which we have to enrich our vision and help to build up a society based on solidarity, as our Father wanted.
Chile’s problem is not that of the others, it is ours
For a long time we have looked at the problems of the Church from our high horse. Today we cannot do this to our country. Chile’s problem is not that of the others, it is ours. We are presented with a great opportunity! Help to build up another society which values everything that is advanced, but distributes its wealth better. Because a country in which 1% of the population owns a third of the wealth cannot survive.
This harsh reality in which we are living demands profound revision. It isn’t enough to pray, no matter how important that is, we have to see in how far we have been part of the problem, and how we can help to be part of the solution.
It is the hour of truth
Forgive me for being so open and harsh, but this is the hour of truth. If we don’t wake up, Schoenstatt won’t have a tomorrow, or even a day after.
Father, enlighten us more than ever before! Blessed Mother, the hour of faithfulness has come!
Patricio Young is a member of the Schoenstatt Family Federation. He is a social worker at the University of Chile, with a Master’s degree in Developmental Science, with a credit in the sociology of communication. He is working as a consultant in Marketing and Communication.
Original: Spanish. Translation: Mary Cole, Manchester, UK