CELAM President Tells What Led to His Release

Bishop Jiménez Also Points Out Key Problem in Latin America

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KONIGSTEIN, Germany, JAN. 31, 2003 (Zenit.org).- The president of the Latin American bishops’ council who was kidnapped last November credits his release to prayer and a heavenly intercessor.

«I owe my release from the rebels to prayer and to the Virgin, Mother of God,» said Bishop Jorge Enrique Jiménez Carvajal of the Colombian diocese of Zipaquira.

The CELAM president gave this explanation last week when visiting the headquarters of Aid to the Church in Need.

The bishop was abducted by a commando of the Armed Revolutionary Forces of Colombia (FARC) and liberated four days later, Nov. 15, by the Colombian army.

Speaking about Latin America, Bishop Jiménez said that «the policy of several governments is hostile to the family, because it favors divorce and abortion.»

But he added that poverty is the worst problem. «At present, social and economic need is the major problem in Latin America. The distribution of wealth is scandalously unjust and the number of needy is rising alarmingly.»

The bishop said the Church does everything possible to counteract this situation with soup kitchens for the poor and a variety of charitable and pastoral projects, but its resources are limited and it cannot change the political structures — nor does it see this as its task.

«The fruit of many people’s need, caused by corruption and the misappropriation of funds, is violence that pursues political ends,» Bishop Jiménez said, adding that kidnapping for political objectives is a «diabolical means.»

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