.- During their 88th Plenary Assembly, the bishops of Colombia clarified that strictly pastoral dialogue with rebel groups in the country does not require permission from the government.
According to the bishopsâ communications' office, the president of the Bishopsâ Conference of Colombia, Bishop Ruben Salazar Gomez, said that âas pastors, we have the duty to dialogue with everyone.â
âWe do not need permission for these strictly pastoral discussions. Itâs another story when we are trying to reach an agreement between the groups and the government,â the bishop explained. âIn that case I think it would be necessary for us to receive authorization from the (country's) president.â
Bishop Jaime Prieto Amaya of Cucuta added that as pastors, âWe do not need permission to dialogue with those who are within our ecclesiastical jurisdiction.â
Just as âdoctors are for treating the sick,â members of the guerrilla groups âapproach us, talk to us and we must attend to them pastorally.
âWe cannot reject them because it would be wrong from an evangelical point of view,â he concluded.