Colombian Archbishop: “We forgive those responsible for the assassination”

.- During a solemn Mass celebrated in St. Peter’s Cathedral, Archbishop Juan Francisco Sarasti of Cali, Colombia, said the Church has already forgiven those responsible for the assassination of his predecessor, Archbishop Isaías Duarte.

“We have forgiven those responsible for the assassination whoever they may be, and irregardless of the responsibilities of the Colombian Justice system and the penalties which it might impose in the exercise of its constitutional powers,” said Archbishop Sarasti, recalling the second anniversary of the death of Archbishop Duarte.

Archbishop Sarasti acknowledged that “losing him lead to serious and irreparable consequences,” but he asked Colombians to reconcile with one another and to rediscover the teachings on peace, which his predecessor conveyed during his seven years as leader of the Archdiocese.

“Our gathering during this Eucharist is not only to simply remember him or pray that justice be done to these materially and intellectually responsible for the killing.  We want to delve into the teachings he left us and reiterate our Christian forgiveness for those responsible for this horrible crime,” he said.

Archbishop Sarasti expressed his concern for the wave of violence that is affecting Cali.  “It is painful to learn of crime taking place in our neighborhoods and communities that has lead authorities to take extraordinary, but necessary, measures, which I hope will restore calm,” the Archbishop said.

At the same time the Archbishop was celebrating Mass in the Cathedral, Auxiliary Bishop Gonzalo Restrepo of Cali presided at a Mass in the Church of the Good Shepherd, where Archbishop Duarte was killed.

Throughout the day, hundreds of people prayed at the tomb of Archbishop Duarte.  “It is sad because he was a man who faithfully served the people of Cali, and so I have come to give him homage,” said Norma Guevara, who came to participate in the ceremonies.

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