Colombia’s catholic church denounced a “record” number of killed
priests and bishops and called parties involved in the country’s
violent conflict to respect religious workers.
According to the Archbishop Ruben Salazar, two bishops, 67 priests, 8 monks and nuns and three seminarians were killed in Colombia between 1984 and June 2009. “This is a record number of priests and bishops killed in an armed conflict,” Salazar said at an annual meeting of priests in Bogota.
The priests are not only witnesses of the violence in remote regions but also the hope and sometimes the only authority for many villages, Salazar said.
The country should recognize the work of the priests, who according to the church are suffering like the civilian population. Unlike civilians, they cannot break down because they are a light for the communities, secretary general of the National Conciliation Commission, Dario Echeverri, told newspaper El Tiempo.
Echeverri called on the armed groups to respect the international humanitarian law and the work of the priests.