Vatican City, Feb 11, 2004 / 22:00 pm
In welcoming Colombian President Alvaro Uribe Velez to the Vatican today, Pope John Paul II told him he hopes for the moral and material reconstruction of the South American country troubled by political violence.
Speaking in Spanish with a clear voice, the Pontiff said he was “pleased at the collaboration that exists between the Church and leaders in your country.”
“Colombia is very present in my thoughts and my prayers,” the Pope told Uribe, “as I pray that its people might walk without losing heart towards an authentic social peace, rejecting any form of violence, generating new forms of coexistence for a sure and firm path of justice, and promoting in a capillary fashion from every corner of the nation unity, fraternity and respect for each other. It is time to establish firm foundations for the moral and material rebuilding of your national community in order to reestablish a society that is just, responsible, peaceful and marked by solidarity.”
“I thank you for your visit,” said the Holy Father, “and I renew my wishes for the spiritual and material progress of Colombians, for their coexistence in harmony and freedom.”