Colombia’s Catholic bishops urged the government and armed rebels to commit to an indefinite cease-fire while a new peace deal is negotiated after voters rejected an agreement that would have formally ended the Western Hemisphere’s longest-running war. Following a meeting on Oct. 13-14, the bishops’ conference said in a letter that it wanted to convey a sense of hope and encouragement to the country as it considers the next steps to establishing lasting peace. “We hear the cries and we align ourselves with the hopes of the victims, the peasants, the different ethnic groups, all of those who have suffered the consequences of the conflict in various regions of the country,” said the letter, signed by Archbishop Luis Castro Quiroga of Tunja, president of the bishops’ conference. “Interpreting the feeling of the Colombian people, we ask the government and the FARC to indefinitely keep the cessation of hostilities,” the letter said, referring to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia by its Spanish acronym, FARC.
A woman holding a candle and images of disappeared victims takes part in a rally for peace Oct. 7 in Medellin, Colombia. Colombia's Catholic bishops urged the government and armed rebels to commit to an indefinite cease-fire while a new peace deal is negotiated. (CNS photo/Luis Eduardo Noriega A., EPA)