Pope Francis calls for end to ethnic violence in South Sudan mass

Juba, Feb 5 (EFE).- Pope Francis on Sunday called for an end to “hatred and revenge” in his open-air mass on the first-ever papal visit to South Sudan, long plagued by bloody civil war.

Some 70,000 Catholic faithful flocked into the John Garang Mausoleum in the capital to attend the mass, after which Francis returns to the Vatican following his six-day visit to Africa.

“In the name of Jesus and of his Beatitudes, let us lay down the weapons of hatred and revenge, in order to take up those of prayer and charity, let us overcome the dislikes and aversions that over time have become chronic and risk pitting tribes and ethnic groups against one another,” the pontiff said.

“Let us learn to apply the salt of forgiveness to our wounds; salt burns but it also heals,” he added.

Francis continued: “Even though we are tiny and frail, even when our strength seems paltry before the magnitude of our problems and the blind fury of violence, we Christians are able to make a decisive contribution to changing history.”

The pope was greeted with songs and cheers by the country’s Catholics, representing about 36% of the population that is experiencing a dire humanitarian crisis caused by war, famines and natural disasters.

Francis arrived in South Sudan on Friday after winding up his trip to the Democratic Republic of Congo, accompanied by the Archbishop of Canterbury and the leader of the Anglican Communion Justin Welby and moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland Iain Greenshields.

The 86-year-old’s intention was to fully implement the peace agreement signed between various factions in 2018 and which South Sudanese leaders promised to comply with when the pope knelt to kiss their feet in a historic gesture after a retreat at the Vatican.

In 2011, South Sudan gained its independence from Muslim-majority Sudan but plunged into civil war two years later.EFE


Related Articles

Back to top button