Colombian bishops hopeful new administration will jump-start mediation with FARC

.- The secretary general of the Bishops’ Conference of Colombia, Bishop Juan Vicente Cordoba, said this week the Catholic Church there is on stand-by awaiting the new administration of president-elect Juan Manuel Santos to take office in order to define the Church’s role in mediation with the Marxist rebel group FARC.

Bishop Cordoba said the Church is available and awaiting an invitation from the government to serve as mediator or to facilitate new talks with FARC.

“The efforts to secure the release of hostages are on ‘stand-by’ until the new government takes office. There is nothing official. Without the consent of the Government we cannot proceed,” the bishop explained.

Bishop Leonardo Gomez Serna said that while there has been no official progress, the Church continues to be committed to peace, to peace that is founded upon social justice, reconciliation and a coming together of all parties.”

Bishop Julio Cesar Vidal Ortiz of Monteria noted that as pastors and Catholic prelates, “We must dialogue with everyone.”  “We must take steps to offer the guerrillas and other groups the chance to be reincorporated into our democratic life,” he said.

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