Catholic Peacebuilding Network

Enhancing the study and practice of Catholic peacebuilding

The Catholic Church Worldwide and Peace in Colombia

Brief Remarks By Archbishop John Onaiyekan, Archbishop of Abuja, Nigeria

The Catholic community in Colombia is not the only one that can bring success to a peace process and to the reconstruction of society in Colombia. As a people of God, the worldwide Catholic community has a vital role in bringing the gospel of peace to the Colombian people. As Father Henao Gaviria states, we need to reflect upon what the Catholic Church, the Conferencia Episcopal, and the Pastoral Social, has learnt along the years of work in conflict zones. This is not an easy task; but it is necessary. Father Henao Gaviria stresses that the learning process is a long road, and that the creativity and imagination of the communities both in Colombia and abroad are key elements to this path towards peace.

The experiences of other countries in peace and post conflict processes have a lot of importance in helping guide Colombia towards a peaceful solution. This is why the contributions to conferences such as the annual CPN Conferences, are vital in building a solid and effective strategy for peace building. With its participation in debate and the development of a consensus plan for international cooperation with Colombia, the Catholic Church has an important role in establishing solidarity networks from the global community (CPN, 2006). Contributions in CPN conferences have been enriching for Colombia and its Catholic Church adherents in the past. Countries like Uganda and Burundi, have contributed from their experiences and advice on how to facilitate peacebuilding and conflict resolution through discussion on themes that include facilitating negotiations between the governments and the rebels, and addressing the underlying issues of conflict such as poverty and corruption.

Catholic Peacebuilding Network Conference
Bogota – Colombia, June 24th-29th 2007