2016-10-27 17:04:00

Archbishop of Juba: The Pope told me he wants to visit South Sudan

(Vatican Radio) The Catholic Archbishop of Juba said on Thursday that Pope Francis told him that he would like to visit South Sudan, a nation wracked by a bitter civil war. Archbishop Paolino Lukudu Loro said the dire situation in his homeland was described to the Pope during an earlier audience between the Holy Father and a delegation of Christian religious leaders from South Sudan. In addition to Archbishop Loro, the delegation included the Archbishop and Primate of the Episcopal Church of Sudan, the Rev. Daniel Deng Bul, and the Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Sudan, the Rev. Peter Gai Lual Marrow.  

South Sudan, the world’s youngest country, has seen in recent months the resurgence of a brutal civil war between government troops loyal to President Salva Kiir and opposition forces following former deputy Reik Machar.

Archbishop Lukudu Loro said all the religious leaders spoke during the papal audience about South Sudan’s war, the killings, the refugees and the prevailing fear and appealed to the Pope to come and visit their homeland. He said the Pope replied by saying he was close to them in their sufferings and repeated twice that he wanted to visit South Sudan.

Archbishop Lukudu Loro also told Vatican Radio’s Christopher Wells that the country is in dire need of humanitarian assistance and of the attention and care of the international community, and that he hopes the Pope and other Christian leaders will help raise awareness of the critical situation facing the people of South Sudan:

Listen to the interview with Archbishop Lukudu Loro of Juba in South Sudan:


Below, please find the English translation of the Communiqué of the Holy See Press Office on Pope Francis’ meeting with religious leaders of South Sudan:

Today in the Vatican Apostolic Palace the Holy Father Francis received in audience the  principal Christian religious leaders of South Sudan: Archbishop Paulino Lukudu Loro, mccj, of  Juba, Rev. Daniel Deng Bul Yak, Archbishop of the Province of the Episcopal Church of South  Sudan & Sudan, and Rev. Peter Gai Lual Marrow, Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of South  Sudan.

In the context of the tensions that divide the population to the detriment of coexistence in the country, during the meeting with the Holy Father it was acknowledged that good and fruitful collaboration exists among the Christian Churches, who wish primarily to offer their contribution to promoting the common good, protecting the dignity of the person, protecting the helpless and implementing initiatives for dialogue and reconciliation. In the light of the Year of Mercy in progress in the Catholic Church, it was underlined that the fundamental experience of forgiveness and acceptance of the other is the privileged path to building peace and to human and social development. In this regard, it was confirmed that the various Christian Churches are committed, in a spirit of communion and unity, to service to the population, promoting the spread of a culture of encounter and sharing.

Finally, all parties reiterated their willingness to journey together and to work with renewed hope and mutual trust, in the conviction that, drawing from the positive values inherent in their respective religious traditions, they may show the way to respond effectively to the deepest aspirations of the population, which keenly thirsts for a secure life and a better future.

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