.- The Colombian magazine Semana published an article this week entitled, “Work Not Always Understood,” explaining the contribution the Church has made to the peace process in the country and noting the great number of priests killed and others who have been threatened during recent years. The magazine reports that Colombian priests are often accused of being involved in the “rebellion,” as in the case of Bishop Leonardo Serna Alzate of El Libano and Father Ricardo Lorenzo Cantalapiedra of La Uribe, who were accused of collaborating with illegal rebel groups.
The article points out that “the great majority of the Church’s initiatives with armed groups has had an exclusively humanitarian objective” and it notes the various tasks the Church has assumed throughout the years of unrest, such as establishing a presence in areas of widespread violence and providing assistance for victims of violence and natural disasters.
Regarding the peace agreements signed by the Colombian government and the United Self-Defense of Colombia (AUC), the magazine highlights that “the presence of the Church in the conflict zones, and its experience in attending to the victims has been of such magnitude that today it is unthinkable that reparations to the victims of the AUC, as stipulated by the Justice and Peace Law, take place without the Church, which is familiar with regional problems more than anyone.”
The article also emphasized the various initiatives organized by the Church to aid victims of the country’s decade-long civil conflict, noting that the Church distributes a large part of the assistance received from other countries in the areas of conflict.