VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis called on the people of Colombia to work toward peace, and maintain hope that negotiations will succeed, according to the Vatican secretary of state.
The pope urged them to “not lose energy or hope” at such a crucial time in the peace process and encouraged them “to continue to work for truth, justice and reparation” so that “what went before will never be repeated,” said Cardinal Pietro Parolin in a letter sent on the pope’s behalf to the Colombian bishops for Holy Week. Vatican Radio released excerpts of the letter April 3.
“We must continue the commitment to the displaced, to survivors of land mines, those who have endured the taking of their property, the kidnapped, with everyone who has suffered,” Cardinal Parolin wrote. “Constructing peace is a complex process that does not come to completion in short-term spaces or plans. Risks need to be taken to cement peace,” the letter said.
Interviewed on Colombian television April 6, President Juan Manuel Santos said the letter was the latest encouragement from Pope Francis to continue the peace process.
“The pope has supported the peace process from the beginning, from when I first visited” the Vatican in May 2013. The pope, he said, has sent him several messages, which always encourage him to persevere and “not throw in the towel.”
The 50-year conflict between the government and Marxist rebels has resulted in an estimated 220,000 fatalities. Colombia opened peace negotiations with the rebel group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, more than two years ago. Negotiators already have reached agreements regarding illegal drug trafficking and land reform, and agreements are in the works on the possibility of reparations for victims of the war.
The letter to Colombia’s bishops said Pope Francis wanted to visit Colombia to encourage the people to pursue peace. Initially many people in Colombia thought the visit would be added to a planned trip to Bolivia, Paraguay and Ecuador in July. However, Santos said April 6 it likely will be in 2016 during a trip that also may include Peru, Chile and the pope’s native Argentina.
Archbishop Ettore Balestrero, the papal nuncio in Colombia, agreed. “It will be another trip. I do not think it will be this year because of all the commitments and trips the pope already has planned. He says it will be soon,” though, the archbishop said.
In a time to build, CatholicPhilly.com connects people and communities
As society emerges from the loss and separation of the pandemic, CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you join in our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103