Washington D.C., 04 February, 2023 / 8:00 pm (ACI Africa).
During an ecumenical prayer service in South Sudan, Pope Francis called for Christian unity amid the violence in the country and urged the faithful to work and pray for peace to settle ongoing political conflicts.
Pope Francis spoke alongside Church of England Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and General Assembly of the Church of Scotland Moderator Iain Greenshields during the event. The three faith leaders prayed for peace together as a sign of unity. About 50,000 people attended the ecumenical prayer service, according to estimates from local authorities.
“Dear friends, those who would call themselves Christians must choose which side to take,” the pope said. “Those who choose Christ choose peace, always; those who unleash war and violence betray the Lord and deny his Gospel. What Jesus teaches us is clear: we are to love everyone, since everyone is loved as a child of our common Father in heaven. The love of Christians is not only for those close to us, but for everyone, for in Jesus each person is our neighbor, our brother or sister — even our enemies.”
The pontiff said that South Sudanese Christians have been deeply committed to promoting reconciliation during these conflicts and thanked them for “this radiant testimony of faith.” Despite divisions, “there remains one unchanging fact, namely, that we are Christians; we belong to Christ.” He said that Christianity continues to be a “factor of unity” and praised South Sudan’s ecumenical tradition as “a precious treasure” and an example “for the advancement of Christian unity” for everyone.