Pope Benedict XVI has sent Christmas prayers to the Colombian people, calling for roads to peace to be opened.
Colombian bishop Juan Vicente Cordoba said he had received a telegram from the Holy Father saying his thoughts were with all Colombians this Christmas, and promised all military, police and civilians in captivity that the church would continue to pray for them.
He said, “We pray for the conversion of the captors, and this is central, this is who we can open the avenues of dialogue for the peace that the Colombian people so long for.”
Cordoba said it was the first time the Pope had called directly for Colombian peace and offered a message of hope. “We can solve our conflicts and dilemmas of violence in our homeland,” he said.
The church would act as a facilitator in an eventual peace process if the president allowed it, he added.