Bogota (Fides Service) – “The Colombian Bishops have reflected on their pastoral responsibilities in view of the armed conflict in the country. This reflection allowed the Church to understand better the reality of the armed conflict, to reaffirm the basic principles of ecclesial action for peace and to identify commitments to be taken in the search for fraternal coexistence among all Colombians”: this was said by Cardinal Pedro Rubiano Sáenz, archbishop of di Bogota and President of the Colombian Bishops’ Conference in a discourse on the theme “The Church in Colombia and peace”, at an International Meeting held recently in Aachen (Germany).
The Cardinal Rubiano said “the efforts on the part of the Church in Colombia for peace are not conjectural they are constant”, because they correspond to a commitment which derives from its mission. “In recent years we have promoted seminars workshops and meetings of formation, initiatives to foster the identification and assimilation of values indispensable to eliminate violence and build fraternal co-existence, as well as campaigns for life, justice and peace”. The Church in Colombia has paid with its blood its commitment for peace: “In recent years victims of this violence which generates conflict include: two Bishops, Mgr Jesús Jaramillo and Mgr Isaías Duarte Cancino and some 60 priests and religious as well as pastors of other Christian Churches ” the Cardinal said.
Among the national level initiatives for building peace promoted by the Bishops’ Conference through its National Office for Social Pastoral we mention “Week for Peace”: a proposal of education and mobilisation of society to promote creative and serious participation in a week of reflection on the need to continue with greater efforts in the search for peace, working tirelessly for truth, mercy justice and Freedom.
The Week for Peace is held every year in September to coincide with the feast of St Peter Claver and National Human Rights Day (9 September). This year the week was held from 7 to 14 on the theme “Reconciliation horizon of Peace”. In the framework of commemorations of the “Pacem in Terris” encyclical by Blessed John XXIII and on the occasion of Colombia’s 2nd National Reconciliation Congress, the Church in Colombia intends to continue to work for reconciliation among Colombians as a path to peace for all, according to the criteria of social justice and for advancement towards a new more human and more fraternal society. The Week for Peace consists of cultural meetings, forums, celebrations of the Eucharist and other activities to promote reflection on the theme chosen (R.Z.) (Fides Service 12/9/2003; lines 33; words 444)