Colombia Bishops Condemn Killing of 4 Kidnapped People

Say Respect for Human Life Must Be at Center of Society

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BOGOTA, Colombia, DEC. 6, 2011 (Zenit.org).- The Colombian Episcopal Conference published a communique last week condemning the “merciless” killing of four kidnapped Colombians by the Armed Revolutionary Forces of Colombia (FARC).

The episcopal conference statement “laments and rejects the murder committed by the FARC guerrilla of four members of the Public Forces, kept prisoners for many years, in acts of profound inhumanity which occurred this weekend.”

“We grieve over the tragedy that these brothers of ours and their families have lived for years,” the bishops added. “We grieve over the way in which the hope of having them again at home, alive, safe and sound has been destroyed. We grieve over the atrocity of fratricidal violence.”

The four hostages killed were a soldier and three police officers and they had been held for between 12 and 13 years. According to press reports three were killed with shots to the head and one with two shots to the back.

The bishops refer to “the cruel reality of human beings who have suffered in their dignity, due to the violation of their fundamental rights, and whose life has been cut down mercilessly.” Before this fact the bishops state that Colombians must “demand that respect for persons and for human life must always be the central objective of all society’s activity,” so that “for no reason whatsoever should the killing of brothers or violence in any of form be justified.” They call for the implementation of humanitarian values and principles, that so many times are sacrificed during confrontations, and for an immediate end to “the armed conflict which for so many years has sown blood and destruction in our homeland.”

The bishops refer to “the constant work of the Catholic Church with the victims of armed conflict,” in which “those kidnapped and those who have lost dear ones have first place.”

They promise to continue “working tirelessly for the ideal of a society in peace, in which life is respected, in which the dignity of every individual is fully recognized, in which liberty is a central value and justice and social equity guide the whole of society.”

They express their “full solidarity with the families that have been victims of such an outrage,” and join them “to pray together, to ask the Lord of life to be their consolation and companion in these moments of so much grief” and they invite “all Colombians not to lose hope, to look to the future with the certainty that love and justice are stronger than all that which threatens to destroy our society.”

The communique is signed by the archbishop of Bogota,  primate of Colombia and president of CEC, Ruben Salazar Gomez.

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