The group of police officers and soldiers attended Pope Benedict XVI’s general audience on June 6.
According to Vatican daily L’Osservatore Romano, the former hostages came dressed in their police and military uniforms and thanked the Pope for his continual support.
The men were kidnapped by the FARC in the late 1990s and held until April of this year. “They told the Pontiff about the Calvary they lived through in the jungle, where they spent many years with chains around their necks,” the paper said.
According to the Efe news agency, Colombia’s ambassador to the Holy See, Cesar Mauricio Velasquez, said the encounter with the Pope was “moving for both the officers and their families.
They have come to thank to the Pope for his constant prayers which helped them to endure the torment of kidnapping and to regain their freedom.”
Velasquez said he hopes “this gesture will set an important example for reconciliation, because when there has been great suffering, there is also growth in love, and consequently, in the ability to forgive.”
A group of eight Colombians who were kidnapped for over ten years by the country's Marxist rebel group told Pope Benedict that his prayers sustained them during their captivity.
Pope Benedict, FARC, Hostages