Successor to Murdered Archbishop of Cali Is Appointed

Calls Kidnapping a Crime Against Humanity

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VATICAN CITY, AUG. 19, 2002 ( John Paul II appointed Archbishop Juan Francisco Sarasti Jaramillo as new head of the Archdiocese of Cali, in Colombia, to succeed the murdered Isaías Duarte.

Shortly after the announcement Saturday, Archbishop Sarasti condemned kidnapping as the worst crime against humanity, saying he was prepared to mediate the release of deputies of Colombia’s Cauca Valley, and other hostages.

Archbishop Sarasti, a religious of the Congregation of Jesus and Mary, was born in Cali on July 30, 1938. He received a licentiate in philosophy from the Xaverian University and a doctorate in theology from the Gregorian University. He was ordained a priest in Rome in 1963.

Within his religious congregation, he was dedicated primarily to formation: He was master of novices and general counselor. Later, he was rector of the Seminary of Santa Rosa de Osos and secretary of the Department for Seminaries of the bishops’ conference.

He was named auxiliary bishop of Cali on March 8, 1978. On Dec. 23, 1983, he was appointed bishop of Barrancabermeja, and on March 25, 1993, he was made archbishop of Ibague.

Archbishop Isaías Duarte was killed March 16 as he got into his car, after celebrating a Mass and officiating at the marriage of 70 couples in Cali’s Good Shepherd Church. He was known for his opposition to the guerrillas and to drug trafficking in Colombia.

The Vatican announced the new appointment during the Holy Father’s visit to Poland.

«We are surfeited of the ways of violence and, beyond being necessary, it is urgent to try other ways for peace,» the new archbishop said over the Caracol radio station. At the same time, he appealed to the government and the guerrillas to be more flexible, so that new ways can be explored that will lead to Colombia’s pacification.

«The Catholic Church will continue to journey toward peace, a peace that must come from man’s heart,» Archbishop Sarasti emphasized.

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