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THE CHURCH: CONSTANT VICTIM OF THE ARMED CONFLICT IN COLOMBIA
Por Verdad Colombia
Title page
Conflicto No sector of the population in Colombia has escaped the horrendous violence perpetrated by the FARC and ELN narcoterrorist organisations. Thus, any group of people that stands in the way of those organisations’ interests, irrespective of their race, creed, political leaning, sex or aocial status, will always be a target for threats, aggression, kidnapping and murder by these subversive elements.
Lunes, 05 de Diciembre de 2005

No sector of the population in Colombia has escaped the horrendous violence perpetrated by the FARC and ELN narcoterrorist organisations. Thus, any group of people that stands in the way of those organisations’ interests, irrespective of their race, creed, political leaning, sex or social status, will always be a target for threats, aggression, kidnapping and murder by these subversive elements. Both the Catholic Church and evangelical and protestant churches have been seriously affected by terrorism and violence.

Groups which directly oppose violent action and are actively involved in the search for peace and reconciliation are therefore persecuted and silenced by these organisations, who to subject the Colombian people to a situation of terror, poverty and desolation, in order to achieve political power.

With the exception of a few priests and monks who have been seduced by the so-called Theology of Liberation, the Catholic Church in Colombia has not adopted a neutral position with respect to the conflict. Quite the contrary, for it has been one of the institutions that has most seriously criticised the continual violent aggression against the poorest and most humble sectors of the community. The church has openly and firmly committed itself to peace and reconciliation for the Colombian people, and has spared no effort in its attempts to guide the state and subversive groups towards a peaceful, negotiated solution to the armed conflict.

The church has thus become an obstacle to the violent actions of the narco-terrorist groups, and these have accordingly tried to silence its efforts and the voices of those men and women who have committed themselves in the name of God to peace in the country.

Since 1984 (the year when it first became necessary to keep a record of attacks on members of religious orders in the country due to continual harassment by subversive groups), the Social Pastoral has been informed of the violent deaths of one archbishop, one bishop, forty eight priests, three nuns and one Catholic seminarian.

During this same period, five bishops, nineteen priests and one missionary have been kidnapped, and more than thirty eight members of religious orders have received death threats.

Church Buildings have also been part of the battle front. Around seventy one churches or priests’ houses have been totally or partially destroyed. The police and armed forces consider Caquetá, Norte de Santander, the mid-Magdalena region, Antioquia, Apartadó, Duitama, Sincelejo, Sucre, Cartago and Arauca to be the most dangerous places in the country to perform religious duties.

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