- May 24, 2020
Pope Francis heads off today for a five-day visit to Colombia, Latin America’s third most populous state and one of its most fervently Catholic countries. The pontiff will have to pull off a delicate balance, strongly endorsing a peace process to end a decades-long armed conflict but keeping some distance from controversial peace deals that Colombian critics believe give too much impunity to rebel groups for the violence.
President Juan Manuel Santos announced on Monday that the agreement with the National Liberation Army (ELN) will be signed in Quito, Ecuador, where negotiations have been taking place since February. Ten Catholic bishops have been at the table from the beginning.
Pope Francis’s September 6-10 visit to Colombia will shed a spotlight on countless innocents who died throughout the country’s long civil war, including those within the church who “paid the price.” A bishop and a priest killed during the conflict will be beatified by the pope when he is in the country.