CELAM Speaks out Against Kidnapping of Archbishop

Plight of Columbian Bishop Draws Condemnations of FARC

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BOGOTA, COLUMBIA, NOV. 14, 2002 (ZENIT.org).- The prolonged abduction of Bishop Jorge Enrique Jiménez intensifies worldwide rejection of his kidnappers, the executive committee of the Latin American Episcopal Council (CELAM) said in a statement.

Monsignor Jiménez, President of CELAM and Bishop of Zipaquira, Columbia, and Fr. Desiderio Orjuela, parish priest of Pacho, Cundinamarca, were kidnapped Monday by guerrillas of the Armed Revolutionary Forces of Colombia (FARC), the Columbian Army affirmed.

The committee states that «if those who kidnapped him wished to use him as a messenger, they could hardly have found another person in Colombia who would arouse so much interest in international public opinion.

«But if they wished to hold him as a captive, they could hardly have found another Colombian whose kidnapping is more useless and causes such vigorous international condemnation of the Armed Revolutionary Forces of Colombia (FARC),» the statement reads.

The document is signed by Cardinal Francisco Javier Errázuriz Ossa, archbishop of Santiago, Chile and acting president of CELAM, by Cardinal Geraldo Majella Agnelo, archbishop of San Salvador, Bahia, second vice-president of CELAM, by Archbishop Roberto Octavio González Nieves of San Juan, Puerto Rico, member of CELAM’s presidential council, and by Bishop Carlos Aguiar Retes of Texcoco, Mexico, secretary general of CELAM.

«All these acts of violence are a very serious attack on the law of God and human dignity.» The archbishop’s «freedom is suppressed, his life threatened and used as currency to be exchanged to achieve other interests,» CELAM stated, echoing words endorsed by the Colombian Episcopal Conference.

The text expresses appreciation for «impressive» manifestations of «profound solidarity,» especially of John Paul II, the Vatican, the bishops’ conferences across America and Europe, of governments, international organizations of workers, countless Christian communities and associations, and numerous individuals distressed by this terrible action.

«With the strong hope given to us by this intense campaign of prayer for the victims that has arisen in the continent and in many other countries, we also intensely appeal to those who say they struggle for peace and social justice, that for the love of God they release immediately Bishop Jorge Enrique Jiménez Carvajal and Fr. Desiderio Orjuela, so that they can continue to work for real justice and social peace following Jesus’ example,» the statement reads.

«May this liberation open the doors for the release of all those kidnapped, to achieve peace and general well-being in the beloved Colombian nation,» The statement concludes

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