Colombian Bishops Condemn Murder of 2 Priests

FARC Rebels Blamed in Ambush Attack

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BOGOTA, Colombia, AUG. 17, 2005 ( The Colombian bishops’ conference condemned what it called the “sacrilegious” ambush murder of two priests and two laborers who were accompanying them.

“These incidents attack the yearnings for reconciliation and peace which the Church has been preaching,”
Said Archbishop Luis Augusto Castro Quiroga, president of the episcopal conference, in a communiqué to the media.

Fathers Vicente Rozo Bayona, 49, and Jesús Emilio Mora, 60, were killed Monday when traveling on the highway between Convencion and Teorama, about 260 miles from Bogota, in the province of North Santander, in northeastern Colombia. The two priests were from the Ocana Diocese.

The national police stated that the car in which the priests were traveling was attacked with explosives and gunfire. Authorities blamed it on rebels of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

Archbishop Castro, 63, said in the communiqué: “It is an atrocious crime that plunges the Church of Colombia in mourning, in particular the relatives and faithful of the parishes of St. Joseph of Convencion and of Mount Carmel, where they carried out their pastoral ministry as exemplary parish priests cherished by their parishioners.”

He added: “Whoever were the masterminds and perpetrators of this violent and sacrilegious act, must know that we condemn it as a crime that dishonors those who committed it and attacks the yearnings for reconciliation and peace which the Church has been preaching.”

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