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“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

Bishops call for forgiveness among Sudanese factions to heal differences

The bishops of two African nations wracked by years of war and cycles of violence called for forgiveness among the sparring factions so that the countries can move forward for the betterment of their people.

The Sudan Catholic Bishops’ Conference, which includes the bishops of Sudan and South Sudan, said “there is nothing more needed than forgiveness” to heal the differences both countries have experienced for decades.

“If we do not forgive and reconcile with one another, there may be no end to our ills in sight,” the bishops said in a late October statement issued as they concluded their regular plenary meeting.

The statement comes as Sudan continues its national dialogue to resolve differences among its political factions. The bishops urged South Sudanese officials to undertake a similar dialogue to achieve peace.

South Sudan became independent in 2011, but within three years, fighting broke out between forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and rebels allied with his former deputy, Riek Machar. The violence has claimed tens of thousands of lives and forced more than 2 million people to flee their homes in the African country.

Picture: People pray in 2011 at a Catholic church in Juba, South Sudan. The Sudan Catholic Bishops’ Conference, which includes the bishops of Sudan and South Sudan, said “there is nothing more needed than forgiveness” to heal the differences both countries have experienced for decades. (CNS photo/Mohamed Messra, EPA).