Wage War for “peace and development”: Vatican Secretary to South Sudanese Authorities

Pietro Cardinal Parolin and President Salva Kiir. Credit: Office of the President - Republic of South Sudan/Facebook

The Vatican Secretary of State who is currently visiting South Sudan has told authorities in the East-Central African that the only “necessary fight” should be the one toward “peace and development”.

Addressing journalists after meeting with South Sudanese President, Salva Kirr, at the Presidential Palace Tuesday, July 5,  Pietro Cardinal Parolin said peace and development dominated their discussion.

“The only necessary fight is the one for peace and development. It is a battle to be waged all together,” Cardinal Parolin said, and added, “Peace and development are two things linked: without peace, there is no development.”

When peace is absent, the result is “instability and dissatisfaction,” the Vatican-based Cardinal further said, adding, “We hope that the message which was received by the president will be received by all the people of South Sudan.”

The next visit of the Pope which is coming soon will just consolidate this message and the movement toward peace and development,” he said.


The 66-year-old Cardinal expressed his awareness of the challenges in realizing reconciliation and lasting peace in South Sudan, saying, “There will always be difficulties but we have to move forward to solve them in goodwill to achieve that unity, peace, and reconciliation.”

He went on to thank President Kiir for a warm reception, saying, “We are very grateful to the President of South Sudan for receiving me with the delegation of the Holy See which is made up of the representatives of the local Church, the President of the Episcopal Conference, and the Archbishop of Juba.” 

We had a pleasant conversation with the President of the Republic in which we recalled his visit to the Vatican and the message the Holy Father delivered to him on that occasion,” Cardinal Parolin told journalists in Juba July 5.

Also addressing journalists after the meeting, the South Sudanese Minister for Presidential Affairs, Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin said the Vatican Secretary of State delivered the Holy Father’s message on peace and reconciliation and reconfirmed the Pope’s intention to realize the postponed ecumenical visit. 

“His Eminence the Secretary of State was able to bring the message of His Holiness Pope Francis to the President of the Republic and all people of South Sudan, which is unity, peace and reconciliation,” Dr. Barnaba said.

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He added that the Vatican Secretary of State “was also able to assure the President about the visit of the Pope that there is the possibility that he will get well, and he will be able to come and see people of South Sudan.”

On his part, President Kiir assured Pope Francis that the country would have credible elections at the end of the transitional period. 

In a July 5 statement shared on Facebook, the President said, “Even after the elections are held, the people will remain united as South Sudanese and work together for the country’s prosperity.” 

The meeting between the Vatican delegation and President Kiir was followed by another meeting with first Vice President of South Sudan, Dr. Riek Machar.

Speaking after the meeting, Dr. Machar said, “The Pope’s arrival in South Sudan would boost the various processes underway, as this was what was already happening in the months leading up to the postponed papal trip.”


“We were preparing to show concrete results,” Dr. Machar said, and added, “My hope is that something will set in motion the process of implementing the Revitalized Peace agreement, before it expires.”

Upon arrival in Juba on July 5, the Vatican Secretary of State said Pope Francis is very much concerned about the progress of efforts towards lasting peace and reconciliation in the East-Central African nation.

On his agenda in Juba, the Vatican Secretary of State is expected, on Thursday, July 7, to celebrate Holy Mass at Dr. John Garang Mausoleum, a memorial dedicated to the leader of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) and first vice president of Sudan following the 2005 peace agreement.

He is also scheduled to bless the foundation stone of the new Apostolic Nunciature in Juba and meet with members of the Clergy and women and men Religious. 

Cardinal Parolin is scheduled to visit the Catholic University of South Sudan (CUofSS) as well as the Usratuna rehabilitation center in Juba, a place where people belonging to different religions collaborate for the integration of disabled children and the training of their families. 

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Cardinal Parolin is set to leave for Rome on Friday, July 8 afternoon.