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Swiss Church "should have fought apartheid"

The Catholic Church in Switzerland should have done more to combat apartheid in South Africa.

That is the finding of the Swiss national commission for justice and peace, which has published a report on the topic.

The report, presented at a news conference in Bern on Thursday, said Catholic Church mission societies were too “cautious” and “hesitant” to interfere when confronted with racial segregation in the 1970s and 1980s.

However youth chapters were at the forefront of the Church’s anti-apartheid action in the 1980s, the report said.

Martin Werlen, the abbot of Einsiedeln, who travelled to South Africa for a separate presentation of the study in August, said that although it was too late to change the past, it was still important to reflect on what could have been done better.

“I think this study can help us to be more aware of the difficulties which are also there today with different nations, and to show what the Church in Switzerland can contribute to more justice and peace. We have good organisations like Justice and Peace and Caritas that can show us where we can act,” Werlen told and agencies

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