Chairman of the USCC Committee on International Policy
October 14, 1994
As President Jean-Bertrand Aristide returns to Haiti to assume the office illegally seized from him three years ago, we pray that the restoration of the elected government will signal a genuine new beginning for justice, peace and reconciliation in that troubled nation.
Everyone knows how difficult a task it will be. Great efforts at tolerance, cooperation and good faith will be demanded of every institution and sector in Haiti. For true democracy to take hold, and for all to benefit from a restored and newly invigorated economy, the violence, mistrust and animosities of the past must give way to a sense of common purpose and shared destiny. Full respect for the human rights of all, and effective guarantee of religious liberty must become the hallmark of the new Haiti.
We renew our constant calls for all factions in Haiti to put aside their differences and to commit the nation to all the responsibilities and restraints of constitutional government. As the Haitian Bishops said at the time of the overthrow of the Duvalier dictatorship in 1986, and repeated in their most recent statement just this month, "The time has come for reconciliation and forgiveness, not for discord, division and hatred."
May Almighty God bless the people of Haiti as they embark on this new path. We renew our expression of support and solidarity with our brother bishops and with the whole church of Haiti. The many friends of Haiti in this country pray and hope that the people and leaders of that land will build peace, pursue reconciliation, forge true unity and establish justice for all.