Bishop: Those Who Closed Colombia Airport Chapel Will ‘Have to Give An Account to God’
OPAIN, the private company that manages Colombia’s main airport, announced on Aug. 26 the closure of the Catholic chapel.
The bishop of Fontibón, Colombia, Juan Vicente Córdoba, said that those who decided to close the chapel located inside the El Dorado International Airport “have to give an account to God” and lamented that the closure took place despite the fact that there was an agreement until the year 2037.
Fontibón is a suburb of Bogotá where the airport is located.
OPAIN, the private company that manages Colombia’s main airport, announced on Aug. 26 the closure of the Catholic chapel and its conversion into a “space for neutral reflection” for all religions.
“There was no dialogue. The contract says until 2037, but they, as they operate independently, can rescind it, but they could have let it stand,” the bishop said in an Aug. 29 video posted on the diocesan website.
The prelate explained that “regarding the El Dorado Airport terminal chapel that was closed, there are two actors: the Secretariat of the Government of the Bogotá Mayor's Office [directed by Mayor Claudia López], which made the request and notified OPAIN, which is the second actor, to get the Catholic Church out of there and apportion it to all religions.”
Bishop Córdoba said that “OPAIN complied with that notification and notified us that we had to leave.” The bishop of Fontibón said that although the company could have decided to let the chapel stay, “it ended up throwing us out and throwing out the Catholic Church.”
“That they are going to give us an hour [a day to celebrate Mass] and all religions another hour, that’s something else. We had to get everything out. We left because they told us to leave, they didn’t want to talk, we had a meeting and it was only to notify us, and they kept notifying us to leave,” he said.
The bishop stressed that “OPAIN was the one that got us out, the Secretariat of Government of the Mayor’s Office was the one that asked them to get us out.”
“Both of them have to do with the departure of the Catholic Church from the airport, but OPAIN and its board of directors could have left us there,” he emphasized.
The bishop pointed out that they are denouncing the eviction because closing the chapel doesn’t allow the Church to “evangelize and attend to people who want to draw near to the peace of God in an airport, and they can’t do it because there are those who said no.”
“Those who said no, have to give an account to God,” the bishop said.