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Pope Encourages Sudanese Bishops in Quest for Peace

This month, Pope Benedict XVI addressed the Bishops of Sudan during their visit to the Vatican. In his address, The Holy Father shared the following:

“I know how much you and the faithful of your country long for peace, and how patiently you are working for its restoration. … you have spoken out with one voice in rejecting ‘any return to war’ and in appealing for the establishment of peace at every level of national life.

Sudan peace

A cross on a hill in Ikotos, Southern Sudan. Photo by Debbie DeVoe/CRS

If peace is to plant deep roots, concrete efforts must be made to diminish the factors contributing to unrest, particularly corruption, ethnic tensions, indifference and selfishness. Initiatives in this regard will surely prove fruitful if they are based on integrity, a sense of universal brotherhood and the virtues of justice, responsibility and charity. Treaties and other agreements, indispensable building blocks in the peace process, will only bear fruit if they are inspired and accompanied by the exercise of mature and morally upright leadership.

… I would like to express my appreciation for your efforts to maintain good relations with the followers of Islam. As you work to promote cooperation in practical initiatives, I would encourage you to stress the values that Christians share in common with Moslems as the basis for that ‘dialogue of life,’ which is an essential first step towards genuine interreligious respect and understanding. The same openness and love should be shown to people belonging to the traditional religions.”

CRS continues to implement peacebuilding programs across Sudan and is ramping up new projects at this critical juncture. From April 11 -13, the country will hold national elections. In January, southerners will vote in a referendum on possible secession. These votes could usher in a new era of peace and prosperity for Sudan—or could spark more violence.

CRS joins the Pope in thanking the Bishops for their commitment to peace. Through new projects, we will support the Church and our other partners in encouraging Sudanese to choose peace every step of the way as they determine the country’s future.

— Reported by Debbie DeVoe, CRS’ regional information officer for eastern and southern Africa based in Nairobi

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