THE U.S. Ambassador to Colombia has been accused of intervening in local Colombian affairs on behalf of a Protestant sect in an article which appeared in "America." The article was written by the managing editor, Fr. Eugene K. Culhane, S.J. who recently returned from ;hat country.
This intervention had the effect of making Colombians feel that " our embassy represents the interest, not of a pluralistic nation of Protestants, Catholics, Jews, and adherents of other religions, but simply of a Protestant nation." Fr. Culhane also stated that Protestantism was identified in the minds of many Colombians with the United States, and the result was that "our good relations with Colombia suffer." Colombians resented "what they consider the activities of U.S. citirens and agencies — sometimes, they suspect, even of U.S. government officials — towards furthering the spread of Protestantism in Colombia."
Under an 1846 treaty with the U.S.A. and under a 1954 government directive, Protestant proselytising was forbidden in the country. However, since the last war, "a torrent of Protestant missionaries, mostly from the United States and mostly of the smaller evangelical sects, [has] descended on Colombia."
" Their public address systems frequently attacked Catholic doctrines as silly or as non-Christian . . . Pamphlets appeared insulting the Church revered by Colombians."
One grievance against U.S. Protestant missionaries arose from their violation of a government ban on Protestant proselytising among Indians of the Colombian mission territory. The government was hound by its Concordat with the Vatican to forbid such missionary activity.