VATICAN CITY, NOV. 13, 2002 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II condemned Colombia’s violence and pleaded again for the release of the president of the Latin American bishops’ council and the priest who was kidnapped with him Monday by guerrillas.
“Painful news does not cease to arrive from Colombia, which this time refers to the kidnapping of Bishop Jorge Enrique Jiménez Carvajal of Zipaquira, president of CELAM, together with a priest who was accompanying him,” the Pope said at the end of today’s general audience.
“This event, which adds to the climate of vexation of human rights and afflicts both the civilian population as well as the Church, impels me to express once again the rejection of all violence and injury to human dignity, which is never the way of peace,” the Holy Father stressed.
“While I vehemently appeal for the release of all the kidnapped and for these pastors to be able to return to the exercise of their service to the people of God, I raise my prayers to God that he may grant the longed for peace to Colombia,” the Pope concluded.
Bishop Jiménez, 60, has promoted peace over the 10 years he has been bishop of Zipaquira, and negotiated with armed groups on several occasions.
Father Desiderio Orjuela, 78, the kidnapped priest, is from the parish of Pacho, in the department of Cundinamarca. He was described by the Colombian newspaper El Tiempo as an “apostle of the poor.”