Francis calls on Colombian war survivors to ‘rise out of swamp of violence’

(NCR Online) In a visit to an area where the fighting in Colombia’s 50-year civil war was the most gruesome, Pope Francis Sept. 8 called on all victims of the bloodshed to “rise up out of the swamp of violence and bitterness” in order to embark on a new path forward for their country.

Flying 75 miles south for the day from the capital of Bogotá, the pontiff asked those who had personally experienced a war in which some 220,000 were killed to set aside their desire for vengeance against their aggressors in order to open the way for reconciliation.

“When victims overcome the understandable temptation to vengeance, they become the most credible protagonists for the process of building peace,” the pope told hundreds of thousands in a homily during an outdoor Mass here, where one infamous 2002 bombing killed 119 noncombatants hiding in a church.

“Reconciliation is not an abstract word,” Francis told the crowds, many who had survived such awful violence. “Reconciliation means opening a door to every person who has experienced the tragic reality of conflict.” [More]


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