Pope Francis Makes A Final Plea For Peace As He Wraps Up South Sudan Tour
Pope Francis on Sunday made a final plea for peace in South Sudan as he wrapped up his tour to the world’s newest country, reported Reuters.
While addressing the John Garang Mausoleum in front of an audience of 70,000, the Pope urged them to lay down their weapons, forgive one another and reject what he called the “venom of hatred.” He asked them to lose no opportunity to build peace. He also pleaded with the country’s leaders including the country’s president and his opponents to focus on ending the conflict.
“Even if our hearts bleed for the wrongs we have suffered, brothers and sisters, let us refuse, once and for all, to repay evil with evil and we will grow healthy within,” Pope Francis said in his address.
“Let us accept one another and love one another with sincerity and generosity, as God loves us. Let us cherish the good that we are, and not allow ourselves to be corrupted by evil!”
Notably, South Sudan continues to be affected by the civil war which led to its independence in 2011 after the president fell out with his then-vice president in 2013.
The civil war killed 400,000 people and forced millions of others to flee their homes. Despite a 2018 peace deal signed by President Salva Kiir, his longtime rival Riek Machar, and other opposition groups, violence still persists in some parts of the country.
The peace deal called for the formation of a national unified army, but the deal’s provision remains unimplemented and fighting has continued.
Pope Francis’s tour of the African continent also included a stop in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), home to Africa’s largest Roman Catholic community, where Francis had a similar message of peace and reconciliation. He condemned what he called the foreign plundering of Africa.