On August 28, 1957, an ostensibly complete report on Colombia was given out by the Most Reverend Philip M. Hannan, Auxiliary Bishop of Washington, after a visit to Colombia. We understand he spent eight days in Bogota and visited the hierarchy there. He reported that Protestant missionaries in Colombia have been victims of political strife rather than religious persecution. He added that some missionaries were unfortunately linked with political parties and had suffered in consequence. But the fact is that no missionary has suffered because of political activity.
We challenge the American hierarchy that issued this statement to give one lone incident of an American missionary involved in Colombian politics and suffering on that account. Colombian Christians, of course have been in politics and are encouraged to take an interest in affairs of their nation. But our missionaries have as a primary rule to avoid all political activity in any country and that includes Colombia.
Another denial of Roman Catholic persecution came after Methodist Bishop Uberti Barbieri of Argentina, Bolivia and Uruguay spoke before the World Council of Churches meeting in New Haven and requested the Central Committee to take action concerning persecution of Protestants in Latin America. The reply was given August 17 by Father John E. Kelly of the Public Relations Bureau of National Catholic Welfare Conference in Washington. He noted that there have been limitations on Catholic activity in Norway, Denmark and Sweden but ignored the fact that there has been no violence against Catholics there. There have been restrictions but in most cases even these have been removed in recent years. This action by Lutherans of those areas, moreover, has not been condoned ...1
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