Colombian Guerrilla 'Authorize' Celebration Of Mass

Agenzia Fides reports that FARC guerrilla in Colombia have now allowed Mass to be celebrated on weekends only.

Bishop Luis Alberto Parra-Mora of the Diocese of Mocoa - Sibundoy whilst speaking to a local radio station said that the guerrilla had earlier forbidden the celebration of Mass altogether.

He said that the guerrillas relented after the people of Puerto Guzmán and Puerto Asís protested and demanded that Churches in their communities be allowed to celebrate Mass.

Agenzia Fides quotes Bishop Alberto who said, "We are now in the process of dialogue with armed groups that have allowed us to come back to celebrate the Eucharist in these cities, but we still cannot go to the rural area, where the churches are closed all week".

Although FARC and the government of President Juan Manuel Santos have continued peace talks in Cuba since 2012, the armed conflict in the country continues unabated. In the same area of Putumayo, six priests threatened by the guerrillas have been transferred recently for security reasons.

Agenzia Fides quotes Father Pedro Mercado, deputy secretary of the Colombian Episcopal Conference as follows, "We view with concern the security issues of our priests and our Bishops, who are denied the freedom to preach the Word of God".

The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia or FARC is a left wing group with Marxist-Leninist ideology. During the long history of armed conflict, hostility against the Church on behalf of guerrilla and other groups has been constant. As pointed out by Fr. Mercado and reported by Agenzia Fides, this problem has increased in recent months.

Agenzia Fides reports that dialogue between FARC and the Colombian government on the peace agreements will resume on November 28.

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