South Sudanese prelates appeal for peace, trust

South Sudanese prelates appeal for peace, trust Photo: CNS

The Catholic bishops of South Sudan have stressed that they are not taking sides in the conflict currently affecting the nation and causing a growing famine.

While continuing to denounce violence on all sides which has now reached depraved extremes, the bishops have been at pains to stress that they are “not against the government” and committed to assisting in any peace initiative it proposes.

In a message issued to the Fides news agency, the bishops acknowledge that some “elements of the government appear to be suspicious of the Church”, but that Church figures have mediated peace deals at the local level which will be undermined if such suspicion continues and grows.

Reemphasising the urgent need for peace to allow for desperately needed humanitarian aid to reach the worst affected areas of the nation, the bishops state: “Our country is gripped by a humanitarian crisis – famine, insecurity and economic hardship. Our people are struggling simply to survive.

“The Church is not for or against anyone, neither the government nor the opposition. We are for all good things – peace, justice, love, forgiveness, reconciliation, dialogue, the rule of law, good governance – and against evil – violence, killing, rape, torture, looting, corruption, arbitrary detention, tribalism, discrimination, oppression – regardless of where they are and who is practising them.

“We are ready to dialogue with and between the government and the opposition at any time.”