Pope Francis called on Colombia’s Catholic majority to reconcile as the country faces major divisions after decades of war.
In a video message released by the Colombian Catholic Church, the top cleric called on the more than 30 million Catholics in the country to “take the first step” in reconciliation, the official theme of his five-day visit that will begin on Wednesday.
Taking the first step encourages us to go out, meet the other, reach out and give the sign of peace. Peace is what Colombia has been seeking for a long time and is working to find. A stable and lasting peace, to see and treat us as brothers, never as enemies.
Ahead of his visit, the pope and Colombia’s branch of the Catholic Church played an active part in diplomatic pressure to convince Santos and the country’s last-standing guerrilla group, the ELN, to cease fire for the first time in 53 years.
As decades of war have severely divided the predominantly Catholic public, the pope has earlier invited Colombians to reconcile, a message he repeated in his message to the Colombian people.
Peace reminds us that we are all children of the same father, who loves and comforts us.
Today’s world needs builders of peace and dialogue. Also the church is called to carry out this task of reconciliation with the Lord and with our brothers, but also with the environment, which is a creation of God.