Threats to Pope Francis on Chile visit next week as three Catholic churches bombed

Three Catholic churches in the Chilean capital of Santiago have been bombed just days before Pope Francis begins his tour of the country.

The perpetrators placed incendiary devices in all three churches, and in one left a direct threat to the Pope, saying the next bombs would be 'in your cassock'.

Chile's outgoing president Michelle Bachelet said the events were 'very strange, because it is not something that can be identified with one specific group', the Catholic Herald reported.

Twitter, Claudio MancillaThese pamphlets were left behind in two of the churches attacked, reading, among other things, 'Pope Francis, the next bombs will be in your cassock'.

She added: 'What I've been told is that, for example, [when the Pope visited] Colombia, there were groups there with a little sign [in protest]. In a democracy, people can express themselves as long as they do so in a peaceful and appropriate way.'

Although authorities expect some protests over clerical sexual abuse during the Pope's visit, this is the first direct threat of violence.

The message in the church was written in Spanish. It reads: 'We will never submit to the dominion you want to exercise over our bodies, our ideas and actions, because we were born free to chose the path we want to take. Against every monk and nun and against every preacher. Bodies free, impure and wild.'

The perpetrators said that they would attack the Pope's 'disgusting morals' with the 'fire of combat'.

The note concludes: 'Freedom to all the political prisoners of the world! Free Wallmapu [indigenous territory]! Autonomy and resistance! Pope Francis the next bombs will be in your cassock!'

Crux reported that police diffused a fourth explosive in another church, with the assailants leaving graffiti questioning the cost of the trip when 'the poor are dying'.

Pope Francis is due to visit Chile from 15 to 18 January.