Catholic Peacebuilding Network

Enhancing the study and practice of Catholic peacebuilding


Caritas Colombia, together with a group of civil society organizations assembled in the “Citizens Initiatives for Peace Network,” launched the 2010 Week For Peace. This year, the Week for Peace will take place from September the 5th to September 12th under the theme “Comprehensive Reparation: Because no victim is foreign to me.” According to Monsignor Hector Fabio Henao, General Secretary of Caritas Colombia, “What our country needs today is a public policy that meets the needs of a reparation that is fair, equitable, efficient, rapid and proportional against the harm suffered by the victims of armed conflict."

The Life, Justice and Peace Office (Vida, Justicia y Paz, VJP) of the National Social Ministry Secretariat (Secretariado Nacional de Pastoral Social, SNPS) organizes local, regional and national forums and conferences to create space for reflection on the situation in Colombia, peace, human rights and reconciliation. The VJP office also coordinates a nationwide Campaign for Reconciliation and Peace (La Campaña por la Reconciliación y la Paz). This campaign concentrates on the communities of one region for a year in order to raise awareness of reconciliation as an integral and sustainable process which supports the construction of peace.

The Colombian National Reconciliation Conferences (los Congresos Nacionales de Reconciliación) gather actors from local, regional, national and international levels to create a space in which experiences, perspectives and visions create support and innovation for reconciliation and peacebuilding in Colombian society. These meetings also allow for reciprocal learning among all participants and communities. Final declarations include:

I Congreso Nacional de Reconciliacion in 2000

II Congreso Nacional de Reconciliación in 2003
III Congreso Nacional de Reconciliacion in 2005

IV Congreso Nacional de Reconciliacion in 2008
The Colombian Conference of Bishops (Conferencia Episcopal de Colombia, CEC) also stresses the importance of reconciliation. In February of 2007, the Colombian Bishops participated in a SNPS workshop concerning peacebuilding and sustainable reconciliation. The purpose of the meeting was to explore the developments in truth, justice and reparation processes taking place in Colombia in order to identify the services the Church can provide for national reconciliation.

Document presented in 2007 during the CPN’s 4th Annual International Conference in Bogota, Colombia

by Lisa Sowle Cahill

I did not come to Colombia to teach about theology. I came to learn from the experiences of the church in Colombia, with the hope that it would make me a better theologian. I certainly cannot bring any “answers” from outside your context. But what I have seen and heard in Colombia has given me more insight into our common Christian faith, and more understanding of its theological expressions. The Colombian experience also forces me to realize that it is not enough for theologians to hold up the consoling and beautiful contributions of Christian faith. We must also confront the dark side of human experience and the difficult questions that suffering and evil pose for the credibility of faith. Columbia had been suffering the effects of conflict for over forty years, and even today, the people the church serves continue to be victims of violence and poverty. But the church in Colombia also renews my confidence that it is possible to confront suffering and conflict honestly and still maintain hope for the future.

See the entire document.