http://www.digitaljournal.com/news/world/colombia-peace-will-fail-without-reconciliation-pope/article/501967

Colombia peace will 'fail' without reconciliation: pope

Posted Sep 8, 2017 by AFP
Pope Francis warned Friday that Colombia's efforts to permanently end its civil conflict will "fail" if the country's people do not seek "reconciliation" after decades of suffering.
Pope Francis addressed thousands of worshippers at an open-air mass in the central Colombian city of...
Pope Francis addressed thousands of worshippers at an open-air mass in the central Colombian city of Villavicencio
Luis ACOSTA, AFP

Pope Francis warned Friday that Colombia's efforts to permanently end its civil conflict will "fail" if the country's people do not seek "reconciliation" after decades of suffering.

"Every effort at peace without a sincere commitment to reconciliation is destined to fail," Francis told thousands of worshippers at an open-air mass in the central Colombian city of Villavicencio.

The congregation included wounded and bereaved victims, former guerrilla and state fighters and displaced indigenous people from rural districts stricken by the half-century conflict.

"Reconciliation means opening a door to every person who has experienced the tragic reality of conflict," Francis said in his homily.

"When victims overcome the understandable temptation to vengeance, they become the most credible protagonists for the process of building peace."

He spoke on the third day of a five-day tour of Colombia, where he has met with leaders and people affected by the violence.

Francis backed the contested peace process that has led to Colombia's biggest rebel group, the FARC, disarming and turning into a political party.

The government has also agreed a ceasefire with the last active guerrilla group, the ELN.

Those are key steps towards ending a many-sided conflict, fueled by drug trafficking, that has left 260,000 people confirmed dead, 60,000 unaccounted for and seven million displaced.

At a mass in Bogota on Thursday, Francis urged Colombians to shun "vengeance" and forgive.

During Friday's mass, he beatified two Catholic priests killed during the conflict, putting them one step on the road to sainthood as martyrs.

Later Friday he was also to bless a mutilated Christ effigy from a crucifix that was all but destroyed by a deadly FARC bombing in the western town of Bojaya in 2002.