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Letter to President of Panama Bishops’ Conference on Election


Archbishop John L. May
May 12, 1989

Once again I am moved to express my admiration and support for all that you, your brother bishops and the rest of the Church in Panama are doing to advance justice, uphold democracy and support the rights of the Panamanian people. Last Sunday's elections unmistakably showed the determination of the Panamanian people to express their will freely, clearly, and courageously. Unfortunately, the result thus far appears to be continued suffering, even death, and the threat of worse to come. 

I join with you in your call for those who wield power in Panama to respect the expressed will of the Panamanian people. I continue to urge the U.S. government to join with other interested American states in seeking to uphold the will of the Panamanian people by political and diplomatic means. We share the concern of the Panamanian bishops that such efforts be guided by genuine respect for democracy, self-determination, and the integrity of the treaties between our two nations. 

Finally, in sharing with you your grief over the senseless killing of Father Nicholas Van Kleef, C.M., I ask you to convey condolences to his bishops of the diocese of David, to the Vincentian community in Panama, and to the people of his parish of Santa Marta. We pray that his tragic death and the courageous witness of the Church in Panama may lead to new life, and to peace, justice and reconciliation in Panama. 

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