Peruvian Church Hopeful as Toledo Takes Office

«Time to Detoxify the Country,» Says Cardinal

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LIMA, Peru, JULY 29, 2001 ( On the day the country´s new president took office, a leading bishop said the Peruvian people finally have been able to come out of «darkness.»

Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani, archbishop of Lima, made his comment on Saturday, the same day that economist Alejandro Toledo, 54, took over the presidency. Toledo, whose term runs until 2006, faces the task of leading Peru after the scandal-plagued Alberto Fujimori years.

The archbishop called for national reconciliation at a thanksgiving Mass held in Lima´s cathedral, which was attended by outgoing President Valentín Paniagua, his aides and civil authorities.

On the 180th anniversary of Peru´s independence, the cardinal proposed, as the starting point for the country´s future, the promotion of the dignity of every person, made in the image and likeness of God.

«This is not the time for messianisms and dialectical confrontations,» he said. «It is the time to detoxify the country of the excessive politicization of society.»

Referring to the outgoing, transitional government of Paniagua, the cardinal said, «God has blessed the happy task that they have accomplished.»

Cardinal Cipriani also expressed his good wishes to the Toledo government, hoping for «the best and imparting our affectionate blessing.»

«I swear by God, by our fatherland, and by the poor of Peru,» the new president said, amid the applause of those present, including 12 Latin American presidents.

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