Armed conflict has been prevalent in Colombia for over fifty years. And one of the strongest institutions resisting this conflict has been the Catholic Church. In 2016, the government of Colombia reached a peace agreement with one major guerilla group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, and in 2017 it took major steps toward peace with another, the National Liberation Army. The Catholic Church has been a major actor in both of these processes. CPN has been involved in accompanying the Colombian Church in the effort for peace and reconciliation, and in bringing its wisdom and insight on peacebuilding to Catholic actors in other parts of the world.
CPN involvement with Colombia has included:
- CPN co-sponsored the 2023 panel event "Overcoming Violence in Wounded Societies: Perspectives from the Colombian and Kenyan Truth Commissions," featuring Francisco de Roux, SJ, former chair of Colombia’s Truth Commission and Tecla Namachanja Wanjala, former vice and acting chair of Kenya’s Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission.
- In 2017 and 2018, CPN co-sponsored two conference events with the Holy See Mission to the UN examining the Colombian Peace Agreement.
- In 2017 and 2011, CPN participated in the biennial Congreso Nacional de Reconciliación held in Colombia.
- In 2012, CPN hosted a session for seventeen Colombian bishops, including the current and past leadership of the Episcopal Conference of Colombia, involved in the peace process.
- In 2007, CPN's fourth annual international conference on Catholic peacebuilding was held in Bogotá, with the theme "Creating a Climate of Reconciliation: Opening Space for Truth, Justice and Reparation."
"Overcoming Violence in Wounded Societies: Perspectives from the Colombian and Kenyan Truth Commissions"
Keough School of Global Affairs Washington, DC Office, University of Notre Dame
April 12, 2023
How can societies grapple with the legacies of conflict and human rights violations? How might they overcome traumatic cycles of ongoing violence? And what can spiritual traditions teach them about moving forward toward a better future? This panel examined these questions with: Rev. Francisco de Roux, former chair of Colombia’s Truth Commission; Tecla Namachanja Wanjala, former vice and acting chair of Kenya’s Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission; and two Colombian attestants to the armed conflict. The panel was moderated by Leslie Wingender, Director of Peacebuilding for Humanity United.
"The Colombian Peace Process and the Catholic Church"
Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, University of Notre Dame
February 28, 2017
2016 was a monumental year for the Colombian peace process, but it remains an incomplete and ongoing process. After a popular vote narrowly rejected the peace deal and a revised agreement was signed, the implementation of that agreement begins. Through it all, the Catholic Church has been a central actor in the peace process as the Church was key to facilitating dialogues that led to the agreement.