Pope calls final battle for peace and forgiveness in South Sudan
Juba – Pope Francis on Sunday made a final appeal for peace in South Sudan, holding a mass in front of tens of thousands of people, concluding an extraordinary mission by a Christian religious leader to advance the country’s recovery from civil war.
On the final day of his pilgrimage to Africa, Francis pleaded with the people of South Sudan to lay down their weapons and forgive each other, before an estimated 70,000 people, including the country’s political leaders, at the memorial to the country’s independence hero John Garan. presided over the mass.
“Even if our hearts bleed because of what we have done, let us categorically refuse to pay evil for evil,” said Francis. “Let us accept each other as God loves us, and love one another with sincerity and generosity.”
His message was meant to restore hope to the world’s youngest nation, which gained independence from Muslim-majority Sudan in 2011 but is plagued by civil war and conflict.
President Salva Kiir, his longtime rival Riek Machar, and other opposition groups signed a peace deal in 2018, but few of the terms of the deal, including the formation of a national united army, have been implemented. , the fighting continues to intensify.
“We have suffered a lot,” said Natalima Andrea, a 66-year-old mother of seven, who wiped tears from her eyes as she waited for Francis’ Mass to begin. We need lasting peace now, and I hope these prayers will lead to lasting peace.”
To spur this process, Francis was joined by the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and the Minister of the Church of Scotland, Rt. Ian Greenshields. The purpose of Catholic, Anglican and Presbyterian leaders is to press keel and matcher Recommit to contract for 2018.
Welby and Greenshields were supposed to join Francis at the altar for Mass on Sunday and accompany him on his flight back to Rome.
The three also aimed to cast a global spotlight on the plight of a country that is oil-rich yet one of the world’s poorest. flood. Corruption allegations against Watchdogs are also widespread. Some South Sudanese noticed that upon His Holiness’ arrival, his modest car was overshadowed by the opulent ones of local officials.
During their three-day visit, Francis, Welby and Greenshields explored the plight of South Sudan’s most vulnerable people, the women and children who bear the brunt of the displacement and who make up the majority of those living in makeshift camps. I tried to get your attention.
they especially women’s plight Child brides are common in countries where sexual violence is rampant, and maternal mortality rates are among the highest in the world.
“When it comes to South Sudan, South Sudan is a patriarchal country,” said Elizabeth Nibor Mallow, an economics lecturer at the Catholic University of South Sudan. Male heirs and females marry young for a dowry.
She said women in South Sudan are “tired. Struggling. Frustrated and stuck.”
Edmund Yakani, executive director of the Community Empowerment for Progress Organization, said the visit of the three leaders was an important impetus to the peace process.
He called it “a grave exposure of our political leaders to their personal responsibility to win the peace and stability of the country.”
Contributed by Trisha Thomas.
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