Vatican welcomes liberation of Columban hostages

 On Wednesday night, Holy See Press Office Director Fr Federico Lombardi SJ expressed the Holy See's happiness at the liberation of 15 hostages held by the FARC group in Colombia, among them former presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt. Fr Lombardi said: "This is good news that creates much satisfaction and gives reasons for hope for the country. It is a sign of hope for so many other people and for "he pacification of a country that has suffered from so much violence". He concluded: "The liberation of the hostages, is also a positive response to the hopes expressed by the Pope, by the bishops and by the Church". Fr Lombardi recalled how Benedict XVI has made numerous calls for the liberation of all hostages held by the FARC guerrillas. In a message to Colombian bishops to mark the first centenary of their episcopal conference, the Holy Father highlighted the care with which the country's prelates seek to be "men of harmony", and their "continual exhortations for an end to the violence, kidnapping, and extortion which affect so many sons and daughters of that beloved land". In this context the Pope concluded his Message by asking God "for an end to these situations which have caused so much suffering, and for a stable and just peace in Colombia, in a climate of hope and prosperity". Source: VIS