Pope Francis’ trip to South America is supposed to be all about peace, unity and hope, but he was struck by what appears to have been an item of clothing or a towel as he greeted crowds from the popemobile on his way to an open-air Mass in Chile’s capital, Santiago.The pontiff appeared to be unharmed, however, and maintained a smile as he waved to worshipers as though nothing had happened.
The 81-year old was hit on the left side of his face, the footage from Santiago’s O’Higgins Park shows. Already there has been recent violence in Santiago, Chile’s capital, where at least five churches were recently attacked — some with firebombs — according to the country’s Interior sub-secretary, Mahmud Aleuy. The vandals left behind a menacing message.
“Pope Francis, the next bombs will be on your cassock,” read one of the messages, according to local newspapers. The attacks on the churches started on Friday, leaving some with burned doors and charred and busted windows. No one was hurt, according to local reports.
Many local Catholics are still angry at Francis for appointing a bishop, who was involved in a sex abuse cover-up scandal, as the head of a diocese. There was also backlash from pro-abortion activists and those angered by the high cost of staging the pontiff’s visit. Around 30 people have also detained the southern city of Concepcion after they took to the streets claiming the authorities “wouldn’t show the real image of Chile” to the Pope.