2009-10-21 14:35:16

Dialogue, negotiations must replace war, say synod bishops

(Oct.21,2009): “Dialogue and negotiations must replace weapons and war”, said an appeal from the Synod of Bishops for Africa. "With dialogue, undertaken in mutual respect and peace, all problems can be solved. War, instead, makes everything more difficult and tempts people to turn their brothers and sisters into enemies to be defeated," it said. The appeal was sent as a letter to the presidents of the bishops' conferences of Sudan, Uganda, Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic. It was written on behalf of the synod by Archbishop Nikola Eterovic, secretary-general of the Synod of Bishops,. and by the co-presidents of the synod for Africa: Nigerian Cardinal Francis Arinze, Cardinal Theodore-Adrien Sarr of Dakar, Senegal, and Cardinal Wilfrid Napier of Durban, South Africa. The Vatican released a copy of the letter on Tuesday., (Oct. 20.).
In the letter, the bishops lamented the persistent war throughout Africa's Great Lakes region and the violence, killings and forced displacement of people who must seek refuge in extremely dangerous conditions. They also highlighted their concern for child soldiers and orphans and for the serious physical and emotional damage inflicted on people. The bishops implored all people involved in the conflicts "to replace at once the language of weapons with that of dialogue and negotiation." They warned of God's final judgment and said, "The blood of the innocent cries for vengeance to God who sooner or later will also have to judge those who have stained their hands with the blood of the poor, who are God's chosen ones."

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