New Prelate for Colombian Capital Sets Priorities
Archbishop of Bogota to Focus on Life, Family, Peace
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BOGOTA, Colombia, AUG. 17, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Installed as the archbishop of Bogota on Friday, 67-year-old Jesús Salazar Gómez is focusing on three priorities: protecting marriage as the union between one man and one woman, saving innocent life in the womb, and promoting peace in Colombia.
Archbishop Salazar Gómez took office during a Eucharistic celebration Friday in the cathedral of Bogota.
Referring to the work of his predecessor, Cardinal Pedro Rubiano Sàenz, the archbishop said in his homily that he comes to gather "a very rich harvest and to continue to sow with determination."
"I will support each and every one of you with the affection of a father, a brother, a friend, because we have an arduous common task," said the archbishop. He added that it is necessary "to discern together the will of the Lord for his people and to strengthen the conditions that will make possible a joint evangelizing endeavor."
In an interview with Radio Caracol, the new archbishop expressed concern over the recent move in the Colombian Constitutional Court to recognize homosexual unions in this country.
"The Lord created man and woman and he asked that it be man and woman who join in a stable union that we call marriage," he said.
"Only on that solid foundation can a society be built, only there is there fecundity and the fundamental conditions for a society to be able to go forward," the archbishop affirmed.
The court ruled Jan. 29, 2009, to recognize homosexual de facto unions, which have the same legal rights as married couples.
Archbishop Salazar Gómez also referred to a court decision obliging schools to include in sexual education curriculums teaching on the alleged right to abort in the three cases that are not punishable as a crime in this country: physical malformation of the fetus, rape or incest, or danger to the life of the mother.
"What is essential is to save the reality of the union of sex with love, not to detach them, because as soon as they are detached many abuses can occur and many misrepresentations of the true meaning of human sexuality [arise]," clarified the archbishop.
The archbishop, who has been serving in the episcopal ministry in Colombia since 1992, also spoke of the Church as a mediator in Colombia's violent conflicts.
"We are always ready for anything that leads to peace," he said. "This is a subject that interests us profoundly."
"[Peace] is at the very heart of our Gospel message," reminded the prelate. "The Lord Jesus said 'I have come to bring peace'; hence, we as Church must be essentially peacemakers and we must do everything we can to facilitate peace in our homeland."