.- Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani of Lima said this week the Church is committed to authentic truth, in spite of all criticisms. The cardinal also reminded bishops that when they speak, they should do so not in their own name, but always in the name of Christ.
The cardinal has come under fire in recent weeks for his comments made on Peru’s Independence Day expressing concern about the final report of the Commission on Truth and Reconciliation (CTR), which slammed the Church for its actions in Ayacucho, Apurimac, and Huancavelica during the country’s decades-long battle with terrorism.
During his radio program, “Dialogue of Faith,” the cardinal explained that the Church must, “make the effort to teach people respect for the truth, because hope springs forth from that truth and that freedom.” Yet when those who cheat and steal have more friends and are more successful, “one feels discouraged because one wonders, what’s point of behaving properly if it gets you nowhere. Better to be smart and fool others in order to successful,” the cardinal said.
“Let us value the truth and respect each other’s word, let the vengeance and persecution driven by political motive cease, let us allow the judicial system to function according to its norms,” he stated.
Cardinal Cipriani also chided bishops for attempting to justify erroneous public comments by saying they are making them in their own name and not in the Church’s. “This confuses people greatly. Every word said by a bishop must, in some way, reflect the doctrine of the Church, and if this isn’t the case then he is a heretic or an apostate. He has abandoned true doctrine or is teaching falsehoods,” he warned.
Regarding the final report of the Commission on Truth and Reconciliation (CTR), Cardinal Cipriani said it should have been more objective and balanced. “If a Commission has been given a moral responsibility it should act as such, and therefore be very careful in being objective in its judgments,” he said.
“The CTR had the grave responsibility to be extremely transparent in all its work. I realize it was not an easy task but at the same time, they forgot to talk to the bishops of Huancavelica and Abancay. That is, the CTR did not talk with those that it has passed judgment on in its final report, and that was too big of an oversight,” he added.
The CTR was commissioned by the Peruvian president in 2001 to investigate violations of human rights during the decades-long battle with the terrorist organizations Shining Path and Tupac Amaru. However, in 2003 it published a controversial report accusing several Church leaders of “hindering” the defense of human rights. Cardinal Cipriani, who at the time was Archbishop of Ayacucho, was one of the Church officials named in the report.
The CTR report has come under intense fire from critics across the board due to its statistics on the number of deaths that occurred during the civil strife. Another government committee has also raised questions about the CTR’s handling of the $1 million dollars it was given for its task.