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Catholic Bishops in Sudan: ‘The Fabric of Sudanese Society Has Been Torn Apart’

Catholic Bishops in Sudan: ‘The Fabric of Sudanese Society Has Been Torn Apart’

By Jude Atemanke

The Sudan Catholic Bishops’ Conference (SCBC) has voiced deep concern over the ongoing conflict in Sudan, highlighting the extensive destruction and immense suffering it has caused. During their June 27–29 meeting in the Archdiocese of Juba, South Sudan, SCBC members emphasized their inability to distance themselves from the turmoil that has engulfed Sudan since April 2023.

In their June 29 statement, the bishops lamented, “The fabric of Sudanese society has been torn apart, with people shocked, traumatized, and disbelieving at the level of violence and hatred.” They stressed that the conflict is not merely a power struggle between two generals but is deeply entwined with the country’s economic fabric, with both the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) backed by networks of wealthy Sudanese and international elites who profit from the control of economic sectors.

The bishops condemned the “horrendous war crimes and human rights abuses committed by both sides,” describing the situation as a humanitarian disaster. They called for immediate efforts to halt the conflict, provide humanitarian aid, advocate for peace, and prepare for post-war reconciliation, rehabilitation, and trauma healing. Above all, they urged prayers for the Sudanese people.

Feedback from Bishop Yunan Tombe Trille Kuku of the El Obeid Diocese painted a grim picture. He stated, “Our leaders are not ready for peace. Fighting and conflict dominate as they insist on defeating the other side before laying down arms.” He urged leaders to prioritize the nation’s well-being, warning that continued fighting only scatters people and fosters hatred among various ethnic groups.

In a heartfelt appeal for peace, the bishop said, “Kneel down to pray and hear the voice of God and the people—children, women crying for peace, and the innocent blood shed in crossfire. Return to dialogue as children of one mother and one father.”

SCBC members endorsed Bishop Kuku’s plea for unity and expressed gratitude to Pope Francis for his concern. They echoed his early June 2024 appeal for silencing weapons and providing aid to displaced populations. They also urged neighboring countries to welcome and protect Sudanese refugees.

Citing Pope Francis’s 2017 World Day of Peace message, “Nonviolence: A Style of Politics for Peace,” the bishops stated, “Violence is not the cure for our broken world. Countering violence with violence leads to forced migrations and enormous suffering, diverting resources from the needs of people to military ends. At worst, it results in death, both physical and spiritual.”

Reaffirming their commitment to peace and justice through nonviolence, they declared, “Even those who bear arms and commit violence are children of God, whom we are called to love. We reject the demonization of any side in Sudan’s conflict and do not take sides.”

The bishops urged all combatants to lay down their arms and engage in meaningful peace negotiations. They condemned the atrocities against civilians, including killing, raping, and looting, and called for accountability for these crimes.

The SCBC also thanked the South Sudanese government for its generous response to returnees and refugees from Sudan. They urged the government to remain neutral in Sudan’s conflict, prevent South Sudanese participation in the armed conflict, and continue facilitating peace negotiations.

This article was first published by ACI Africa, EWTN Norway’s news partner in Africa, and has been adapted by EWTN Norway.

Photo credit:
The president of the Sudan Catholic Bishops’ Conference (SCBC), Cardinal Stephen Ameyu Mulla, reads a message from SCBC members on June 29, 2024. | Credit: Catholic Radio Network (CRN)

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