CHILEAN YOUTH THANK POPE FOR PEACE
Pontiff Mediated Beagle Channel Conflict
BUENOS AIRES, AUGUST 11 (ZENIT.org).- Waving flags of their
countries, some 3,000 Argentinean and 5,000 Chilean youth will thank
the Pope for "his intervention in the conflict over the Beagle
Channel, which almost degenerated into an absurd war," stated
Bishop Fernando Maria Bargallo of Merlo-Moreno. The Bishop, who is
responsible at the national level for the pastoral care of youth,
explained that the youth of the two countries will express their
gratitude during the closing of World Youth Day, which will be
presided over by John Paul II from August 19-20.
The conflict between Argentina and Chile over possession of the
Channel almost broke out into war between their military governments
in 1978. The dispute was finally resolved peacefully, when John Paul
II ratified Chile's sovereignty over the territory in question.
Groups of Argentine and Chilean youth will be near the altar, so
that the symbolic gesture will be seen by the Holy Father and
captured by television cameras, which will broadcast the ceremony
Bishop Bargallo said he was surprised at the number of Argentinean
youth traveling to Rome. In statements to the AICA agency, he
admitted: "we thought that fewer would be traveling. In fact,
we did not make it a priority when delineating the objectives of our
pastoral program, which was geared to having all the youths live the
Jubilee intensely in their own dioceses."
World Youth Day 2000 has awakened more interest among Argentinean
youth than previous ones held in Europe. For the Paris Youth Day in
1998, for example, there were 1,700 Argentinean participants.
"Evidently, the fact that it is in Rome, in the context of the
Holy Year, is especially forceful, so much so, that this time we
have not had to promote it," Bishop Bargallo explained.