The lives of the two kidnapped British bankers in El Salvador still hung .in the balance this week after Left-wing guerrillas agreed to postpone their threatened executions.
The deadline set by the Armed Forces of the National Resistance (FA RN) for the executions of Michael Chatterton, a Catholic, and Ian Massie, passed on Thursday of last week. Later the guerrillas announced that the "death sentences" had been suspended indefinitely. Both men have been held since last November.
On Sunday Archbishop Oscar Romero of San Salvador made an impassioned appeal for the freeing of the two Britons and of a Japanese businessman. The Archbishop strongly condemned last week's murder of a fourth man, a Salvadorean coffee magnate.
"The life of a rich man and the life of a poor man are equal," the Archbishop said. "This was an act of murder which must be looked
down on by all men. I beg of you (the guerrillas) now to let the Britons and the other man go without harming them."
He also repeated his call to the government to reassure the people over the question of political prisoners. The release of all political prisoners in one of FARN's main demands.
EARN has demanded a ransom of more than /4 million from Lloyds Bank, which employs both Mr Chatterton and Mr Massie, Last week, announcing that the two men had been reprieved, FARN said that the bank had been "very co-operative". However, Lloyds have told them that they can do nothing to ensure that the movement's political demands are met.
Despite this, the kidnappers have urged Lloyds to arrange for thes publication of a statement criticising both the British and the El Salvadorean Governments for "obstructing the negotiations", Moves are under way in Brussels to force member States of
the European Economic Cornmunity to give women the legal rights to be ordained. Ironically, they coincide with another official Catholic state ment — this time from the Irish bishops — urging Catholics to promote the European ideal,
last week Mr I lenk Vredeling, a Dutch Socialist who is the EEC
Commission member responsible for social affairs, warned countries who had failed to order that women could be ordained that they could be taken before the Euopean Court of Justice.
The Treaty of Rome, on which
the EEC is based, stipulates that
men and women must receive 4111
equal pay and opportunities. On Monday the Irish bishops called on voters to express "their faith in the ideal of Europe" and to declare "their hope for its future in the face of scepticism, discouragement and despair." They emphasised that this ideal went far beyond economic affairs. "We must not settle for a materialistic ideal, the prospect of an earthly paradise in place of the spiritual vision that inspired the movement towards European unity," they said.
They saw the Europe to be aimed at BS "the rich unity of
symphony, based upon a wealth of different sounds and instruments, rather than the monotonous unity of a single note".
Personal responsibility, free decision making, respect for human life, and the safeguarding of human rights were all essential; parts of that ideal, they said. The bishops urged that adequate protection be given to the
rights of parents to choose what form of education their children received, as well as to migrant workers.
They also warned against the trend towards easier abortions and against the damaging effects of a falling birth-rate.
Meanwhile, the Laity Commission is preparing a paper propos ing practical ways of building links on a local level, Such links would include inter parish and inter diocesan communications and exchange in order to form closer bonds of friendship and cooperation.