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Chilean cardinal gets police protection from potential demonstrators

By on Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati Andrello, Archbishop of Santiago (CNS)

Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati Andrello, Archbishop of Santiago (CNS)

Safety concerns have prompted Chile’s national police force to provide a security detail to guard Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati Andrello of Santiago during public appearances.

A statement from the archdiocese said the national police, known as Carabineros, began providing protection to Cardinal Ezzati soon after his January appointment by the Vatican.

“Carabineros of Chile offered their services generously and for free in March 2014. The archbishop accepted it right away,” the statement said.

Church and security officials cited an anonymous telephone caller in March threatening a heckling demonstration and vandalism to the Metropolitan Cathedral caused by more than 100 demonstrators during a protest in July demanding the decriminalization of abortion as concerns that led to the decision to provide security for the cardinal.

In recent months, at least one plainclothes officer has been seen with the cardinal at most public events. At times, the cardinal has blended among the parishioners, but with an officer nearby. At other times, when traveling, the cardinal’s vehicle has been rerouted to avoid traffic jams and his security team has backup exit strategies to avoid crowds and, occasionally, even the press, police sources said.

An officer in a dark suit and wearing an earbud could be seen with Cardinal Ezzati May 28 during a visit to the Catholic University of Santiago for an ecumenical meeting with leaders from other Christian churches. The man walked with the cardinal and officials from the churches to the closed-door meeting and returned 90 minutes later when the gathering ended.

“I have this (protection) since I was named cardinal. This is not a risk,” Cardinal Ezzati told Catholic News Service after the meeting at the university.

Officials at the archdiocese said the special police protection was assigned to control potential risks of confrontation with protesters. They cited a phone call weeks after the cardinal’s Jan. 12 appointment by Pope Francis.

The cardinal’s appointment was criticized by advocates for victims of sexual abuses carried out by Father Fernando Karadima, who in 2011 was ordered to “retire to a life of prayer and penitence” by the Vatican.

Church officials did not indicate whether the criticism and the call were connected.

Police sources told CNS that, besides assigning an agent to protect Cardinal Ezzati, other plainclothes policemen blend with crowds during cathedral ceremonies in an attempt to prevent episodes like the one last July.

The same sources added that, until now, Cardinal Ezzati has not canceled public activities because of the security risks.

  • Guest

    We do not grow old merely to avoid death, or to extend our lives indefinitely, let alone to hide away from threats. One need not, of course, court murder and mayhem – heaven forbid! But is not a threat to commit unlawful damage an offence .. even in Chile – and even by progressivist, libertine, freedom fighters?

    Are they not simply demanding that the episcopal ‘Option For The Poor’ be extended through mess-making Liberation Theology to a mother’s legal ‘right’ to slaughter her own offspring? This confusion is but part of the mess made by sloppy thinking, and its consequences ignored by indisciplined pastors, moreover, it is the future wrought for us all by these same pastors and their teachers in their worldly way of thought! Catholic pastors have regularly had to face mob violence before and may often have to do so again, what matters then is the reason for the mentally-crowded ire; if the pastor witnesses to the Truth of the Faith, well and good, his Master shall reward him, if asserting his own arrogant pride, his worldly way has its own reward, if confronted by vandalism that is a matter for the saecular sword .. if ready, willing, or indeed able to act.

    God Bless Our Pope! Lord, help us all!

    St Michael defend us in the day of battle!

    Papa Pacelli – Beato Subito / Santo Subito!

  • Dave

    Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati Andrello is one of the good ones. A great promoter of education, reason and the Catholic Faith, he has never found favour with extremists. Long before being threatened with violence by the pro-abort left, Pinochet’s ministers accused him of treason and he was denounced by the Ministry of Education as a comunista and subversive, and his work was censored.

  • ContraMundum

    The moral attitude of the world is changing. Christianity no longer holds a prominent place in society; in fact, former Catholic countries are now post-Christian states. Europe is definitely post Christian; we live in the shadow of the cross but our civilisation no longer embraces the Cross. In time, hatred of Christian morals will become so strong that Christians will be openly persecuted and even killed for their beliefs. The writing is on the wall. A time will come when most Cardinals require police protection. Our Lady of Fatima pray for us.

  • More Tea Vicar?

    A side altar in the cathedral was sprayed with graffiti by these pro-abortion no-marks some time ago. It was disgusting – if not, satanic.
    Do these people think that if they bully and intimidate Cardinal Ezzati enough that he’ll back down?
    No chance!
    More power to Cardinal Ezzati’s elbow. We should support him with our prayers and sacrifices.
    O Mary conceived without sin pray for us who have recourse to thee!
    Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle!