Cardinal exhorts candidates in Peru to foster reconciliation


Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani of Lima is calling on the candidates of Peru’s upcoming presidential runoff election to talk about reconciliation and not violence.

“I think it is good that people remember that violence is never a solution for anything and that what this is about is service to the common good of the country. Let’s take the road of progress and development, and let each person cast his vote in freedom and be respectful of those who have different points of view,” the cardinal said during his May 28 program Dialogue of Faith.

Cardinal Cipriani’s comments came as the country is becoming increasingly divided over the runoff elections, with violence breaking out in the southern region of Puno. “I think that if we want to talk about reconciliation, there needs be greater respect for the truth in the plans that one has and in the words that one says,” he added.

The runoff election will take place June 5 between Keiko Fujimori and Ollanta Humala.

The cardinal defended the rights of bishops to provide guidance to Catholics. He rejected claims that the bishops are attempting to control public opinion by making everyone think the same.

He encouraged Peruvians to be tolerant of each other and of those who think differently. “I love my country. I am a Peruvian who is a cardinal and who embraces the social teachings of the Catholic Church. In the name of these principles, I must remind this majority Catholic country that we must redirect ourselves towards the paths of peace and greater tolerance, and not deceive the people,” he said.

During Mass on May 29, Cardinal Cipriani said Peruvians should be hopeful about the presidential elections. “This is not a time for violence and hatred or for confronting the Peruvian family. This is simply a political time in which we are going to elect the person who will serve all Peruvians,” he added.

He also reiterated that reconciliation in the country must be based on the truth, “which has no room for hatred, deceit and resentment.”

“Violence can never be justified in the name of religion. There can never be an excuse for it; that is not Catholic. And hatred cannot be sown in the name of justice, we cannot deceive others in the name of God,” the cardinal concluded.

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