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Rome Reports

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Pope offers Church cooperation for peace in Colombia

They met and spoke in private for half an hour on how the Church and the Colombian government can work together against guerrilla violence in that country.

Alvaro UribePresident of Colombia“I told him that we have the determination to bring down criminals and the determination to honor human dignity and human rights.”

According to a statement released by the Vatican, they spoke about the current situation in Latin America, especially with regards to the war on drugs and the politics of helping the poor.

Alvaro UribePresident of Colombia"It’s been a very positive meeting. Very moving. The Holy Father has much affection for Colombia and for the Colombian people. A very big regard for Colombia and he wants us to move forward.”

The president visited the Vatican with his wife and gave the Pope a pair of curious cufflinks. In return, the Pope gave him Papal medals.Uribe’s visit to Rome started some time before his meeting with the Pope in a mass with the highest ranked Colombians in the Roman Curia: Cardinal Dario Castrillon and Archbishop Octavio Ruiz Arenas, vice president of the Commission for Latin America.

During the mass, the cardinal thanked the Colombian president for his commitment to defending human rights, and he said he hopes his visit with the Pope brings peace to Colombia.

Card. Dario Castrillon HoyosPresident of Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei”“We all need peace. And the president’s visit to Rome will mean peace for Colombia.”

Benedict XVI has expressed public solidarity for the victims of kidnappings in Colombia by guerrillas on seven occasions and has expressed his desire to meet with victims and their families.

JMB/RS