Church helps people in Colombia move from ‘vengeance’ to reconciliation
In the complex peace process now underway in Colombia after 52 years of violent conflict, the Catholic Church works on many levels to replace a culture of violence with one of encounter.
Hopeful speakers at a 2nd February United Nations forum described the incremental steps taken by former combatants and their civil society counterparts to seek reconciliation and a lasting peace.
Colombian Archbishop Luis Castro Quiroga of Tunja, former president of the Colombian bishops’ conference, said one of the Church’s roles is “helping people step away from vengeance and toward forgiveness and reconciliation.”
The first steps are the most difficult for people who have lived with violence for decades and those who take them must be enthusiastic until others can begin to feel the peace, he said.
After 52 years of armed conflict in Colombia, government and rebel leaders reached a peace accord in late 2016 that put an official end to a war that claimed more than 200,000 lives and displaced almost 7 million people.
The church is important to the process because it is impartial, knows the details of the conflict, can maintain dialogue and has an historic presence throughout the country, speakers said.
Picture: A woman mourns on a coffin during a ceremony to deliver the remains of victims of the conflict with paramilitary groups in Medellin, Colombia, on 18th August 2017. (CNS photo/Luis Eduardo Noriega A., EPA).Tags: Archbishop Luis Castro Quiroga, Colombia, reconciliation, Tunja, UN, United Nations, vengeance