.- Fr. Ciro Benedettini, C.P., vice director of the Holy See Press Office, declared this morning that the Holy Father has asked for the release of Colombian Bishop Misael Vacca Ramirez who was kidnapped on July 24 by members of the Jose David Suarez Front of the National Liberation Army (ELN) while visiting the Christian community of Morcote in eastern Colombia.
"The Holy Father received the news of this criminal act, in no way justifiable, with sorrow and concern, and he asks with paternal firmness for the immediate release of this prelate. It is regrettable and reproachable that a bishop, dedicated to announcing the Gospel of peace and hope to the faithful entrusted to his care, especially the poorest of the poor, is prevented in such a contemptible way from freely exercising his pastoral care," declared Benedettini.
One month ago, Alvaro Uribe, president of Colombia, began a dialogue with the ELN through the Mexican government. The kidnappers have made it known that they wanted to give a message to the prelate. The local Church has started contacts to free the bishop.