The new president of the Bishops’ Conference of Peru, Archbishop Salvador Pineiro Garcia Calderon of Ayacucho exhorted Peruvians to work for forgiveness and overcome the hatred sown by terrorism.
In a Jan. 26 press conference at the bishops’ conference offices, Archbishop Garcia Calderon called for peace and reconciliation but also said Peruvians must not forget “those difficult hours of humiliation, vengeance and hatred” they lived through during the 1980s and 90s because of the Shining Path, a Maoist rebel group.
His comments came as the Peruvian government rejected a request by the Movement for Amnesty and Fundamental Rights to form a political party. The organization is led by Manuel Fajardo, who is the attorney for the Shining Path’s leader, Abimael Guzman. The violence that took the lives of some 70,000 people finally abated in 1992 when Guzman was captured by the Peruvian government.
Archbishop Garcia Calderon also commented on the dispute between the Archdiocese of Lima and the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru, which has refused to follow the statutes of Pope John Paul II’s “Ex Corde Ecclesia.” Last December, the Vatican appointed Cardinal Peter Erdo to mediate in the conflict.
“This is an issue that should have been studied as a family, without the media intervening. We should not forget that the Catholic University was born in the Church. Moreover, in the dialogue with culture, we must not forget the issue of faith,” he said.
Archbishop Garcia Calderon called on the media to practice “moderation in your lives and solidarity with those most in need, and to help us expand the work of the Church.”