The Archbishop of Cali, Colombia, Most Rev. Darío de Jesús Monsalve, has had many setbacks when exercising his controversial pastoral mission. Zeal for defending the sheep of his flock should not be a problem since the Gospel says that a true shepherd must defend his faithful from the many enemies of the Catholic Faith, especially in these times of confusion.
However, our archbishop does not stand out in this field because he says little or nothing about the present religious crisis. He is not concerned with the loss of the faith of countless Catholics leaving the Church to join other Christian sects and thus distance themselves from the Sacraments and forget the holy and perennial doctrine of the Church. Indeed, no one teaches or proclaims this doctrine anymore since those called to do so replace it with a new Marxist “gospel.”
The archbishop’s concerns are very different from those of the true Church. His voice as a pastor of souls only resonates firmly when defending the atheistic enemies of our faith. These are the terrorists destroying our nation and subversive groups that have sown hatred and crime in our sick and decadent society.
A Long History of Supporting FARC and ELN
Recently, Archbishop Monsalve did not hesitate to ask for the canonization of the apostate priest Camilo Torres, on the fiftieth anniversary of his death. Around the year 1970, this priest, together with other guerrilla priests such as Fr. Domingo Laín and Fr. Manuel Pérez, founded the National Liberation Army (ELN). This terrorist organization gained importance lately because so-called dissidents from another terrorist organization called Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) joined the group after disagreeing with the false peace process promoted by the previous administration.
The Archbishop has a long history of supporting FARC. When the peace agreements with the FARC were signed in 2016, the archbishop did not hesitate to invite the organization’s leaders to attend a spiritual retreat of the clergy. He led the retreat in a religious house near Cali. We wonder what advantage the diocesan clergy could have drawn from listening to the terrorist exploits of some of the worst criminals in the nation. Shortly before the plebiscite in which Colombia rejected the FARC Agreements in 2016, the archbishop announced that those voting against them were not good Catholics. He held that Christians should accept the country’s surrender to FARC extortions.
More recently, the archbishop and Father Francisco de Roux, the Jesuit superior in Colombia, became brokers in disastrous negotiations with the ELN that broke down. This group shows no signs of wanting peace. Instead, ELN terrorists have redoubled their attacks and crimes. They set off a car bomb, for example, at the Police School in Bogotá in January 2019, murdering 21 and wounding hundreds of young cadets.
In August of this year, the fiery archbishop stirred up controversy again by accusing the Colombian government of promoting genocide against the ELN. The statement was so outlandish that the Apostolic Nuncio in Colombia, Archbishop Luis Mariano Montemayor, spoke out, declaring that this view was not shared by the other bishops, Vatican authorities or Pope Francis.
An Inexplicable Friendship
How to explain such a close friendship between the archbishop and the worst terrorists in Colombia? We do not know. But Archbishop Monsalve owes the country and the city of Cali a much-needed explanation. The faithful of his archdiocese completely reject his dealings with these terrorist groups. In the recent past, these subversive groups committed appalling crimes against the faithful whom Archbishop Monsalve governs. He may have forgotten that in 2002, FARC gunmen vilely assassinated his predecessor in the Archdiocese of Cali, Most Rev. Isaías Duarte as he finished saying a Mass for kidnapping victims—an act of barbarism with few precedents in the long history of the Church.
Moreover, around the same time, the ELN kidnapped about 200 parishioners attending a Mass at the La María Church in Cali. Almost at the same time, they abducted 50 other people conversing in a restaurant on the outskirts of the city. Both terrorist operations were planned with the utmost treachery. Some kidnapped victims were held for almost two years, while others were cowardly killed. In 1989, the ELN kidnapped, tortured, and assassinated the Bishop of Arauca (Colombia), Most Rev. Jesús Emilio Jaramillo.
Neither the FARC nor the ELN ever showed the slightest sign of repentance, reparation, or request for forgiveness for these horrifying events. For them, these crimes are legitimate acts in an open war against our society. They desire to destroy the present order so that they can impose on us the Marxist system that prevails in Cuba and Venezuela. They want to eliminate people’s freedoms and drive the entire population into misery and oppression. Is this perhaps the gospel that the archbishop preaches? Is this the faith he wants to impose on the Catholic faithful of Cali? Is Archbishop Monsalve’s preferential option for the gospel of Marxism, misery, and crime?
A Dreadful Situation
This appears to be the case! We Catholics in this important Colombian archdiocese comprising some four million people in Cali and surrounding cities neither want nor accept this recklessness. Even those residents who are not Catholics do not want to put up with the foolishness of the prelate.
In these times of confusion and loss of faith, Archbishop Monsalve’s destructive attitudes scandalize his faithful. These attitudes are inappropriate for his office. Indeed, it seems the claws and fangs of the wolf that he is, are beginning to protrude from the edges of his episcopal cassock—and he does not care to hide them. This shepherd, who should feed the flock of Christ, has become a wolf that scatters them and leads them to perdition.
What a terrible and dreadful situation! It would be less serious if those within the Church exercised their authority to put things in order. They would require this shepherd to behave as he should or, failing that, removing him from office and appointing another who would fulfill the mandate of Our Lord Jesus Christ to Peter, chosen as the head of his apostles: “Feed my sheep” (John 21:16).
Eugenio Trujillo Villegas is Director of the Sociedad Colombiana Tradición y Acción.
As seen on Fatima Today.
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