Catholic News Service reports on heroic efforts by Catholic Church leaders in South Sudan to maintain peace in the world’s newest nation.
CAPE TOWN, South Africa (CNS) — The church in South Sudan and its partners in the U.S. are frustrated that their efforts to build peace in the infant country are threatened, but they have not given up, Catholic officials said.
A serious political deadlock between South Sudan and its northern neighbor, Sudan, over the split of oil revenues “could lead to a declaration of war,” said Auxiliary Bishop Santo Loku Pio Doggale of Juba, capital of South Sudan.
Bishop Doggale said that he and other church leaders met with South Sudan President Salva Kiir and other senior government officials in Juba after the government announced Jan. 20 that it was shutting down oil production immediately.
“We are very concerned that no agreement has been reached with Sudan” on contentious issues, the bishop said in a Jan. 25 telephone interview from Pretoria, where he was meeting with the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference.
The article quotes Dan Griffin, CRS’ HQ-based point man on South Sudan.
The U.S. bishops’ Catholic Relief Services, along with other church agencies, has been providing emergency assistance to South Sudan after a series of retaliatory attacks between ethnic groups in Jonglei state displaced tens of thousands of people, beginning in late December.
“What is most disturbing is that the violence prohibits real development taking place,” Dan Griffin, adviser on Sudan to CRS, said in a Jan. 20 telephone interview from Baltimore.
“The provision of emergency medical assistance means that building clinics will take longer. Building shelters for the displaced means that community centers aren’t being built, which is very frustrating,” Griffin said.
“But the church understands that peace is a process and has not lost its footing,” he said.
“Despite the tremendous challenges, we’re not giving up,” he said.
To arrange an interview with Dan, contact Kim Pozniak.