Pope Francis holds out hope for peace visit to South Sudan
Pope Francis has once more called for peace in South Sudan and repeated his desire to visit the war-torn country.
Speaking after the Pope met with the South Sudanese council of churches on Friday 23 March, at the Vatican, James Oyet Latansio, the Council Secretary said, “The Pope holds the suffering people of South Sudan in his heart,”
South Sudan, the youngest independent nation in the world, plunged into a protracted war, which has claimed the lives of about 500,000 people, displacing over four million, about three years after gaining it independence from Sudan in December 2013.
The meeting with the Pope, Father Latansio said, was to discuss way of ending the killings and restore peace in South Sudan. This, it is hoped, will also set the country on a path to solving its socio-economic crises which has resulted in raising famine.
Oyet Latansio said the Pope still hopes to visit the country in company with the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev. Justin Welby, which had been put off in the past due to security concerns.
Father Latansio is however confident that the heads of both catholic and Anglican Churches will be given the south Sudanese hospitality.
“When he comes, we will welcome him,” he said. “The pope can go wherever he wants … South Sudan has security issues, but we have come from there and we live in it. Anywhere in the world someone can pick up a gun and shoot.”
Hassan John is West Arica Editor, GCN and Priest of the Anglican Diocese of Jos