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Colombian archbishop vows to maintain slain colleague's fight

The assassination of Archbishop Duarte is a clear signal that the Colombian Church must continue the struggle against drug-trafficking, said Archbishop Luis Augusto Castro after the funderal of Archbishop Isaias Duarte Cancino, who was shot dead by gunmen in Cali on Saturday.

"This is a very difficult moment," said Archbishop Castro. "Tragic events like the assassination of Archbishop Duarte make us realise that we must continue the task of mediating between the conflicting parties, striving to approach them and bring them all to forgiveness, as Pope John Paul II teaches."

Archbishop Duarte was given the final salute by his archdiocese in Cali cathedral filled to capacity with many more people in the cathedral square. The funeral was presided on behalf of the Pope by Cardinal Pedro Rubiano Saenz, Archbishop of Bogota, who concelebrated the Mass with all the bishops of Colombia, the Nuncio, and about a hundred priests. Special guests included President Andres Pastrana and the entire government.

Archbishop Castro said: "He combined love of God and charity to the poor with courageous denouncing of violence and corruption. Colombia is in the grip of various kinds of violence: political which is now armed subversion, economic violence called drug-trafficking, and cultural violence seen in common criminality."


22 Mar 2002