Prelate in Sudan Says “We are so far doing well as one Conference” With South Sudan

Members of the Sudan Catholic Bishops’ Conference (SCBC).
Credit: ACI Africa

Operating under a single Catholic Bishops’ Conference has so far been smooth for Prelates in South Sudan and Sudan even after the former seceded, the Archbishop of Sudan’s Khartoum Archdiocese has told ACI Africa.

After a weeklong annual Plenary Assembly of the Bishops of both countries, Archbishop Michael Didi acknowledged that the two countries under one Conference are progressing smoother currently as opposed to the days following the July 2011 secession.

“We (Bishops in Sudan and South Sudan) are so far doing well as one Conference in two countries. Our work is smoother than days after the separation in 2011,” Archbishop Didi told ACI Africa Sunday, November 15.

Archbishop Didi acknowledged that after the independence of South Sudan from Sudan nine years ago, the Bishops experienced numerous challenges as they sought to operate as one Conference in two distinct countries. 

The Sudanese-born Archbishop expressed disappointment over what he termed as political instabilities that he said were resulting to violence and displacements of populations, adding that the protracted violence in the country had destabilized the work of the Church in the country.

“It hasn’t been easy for the Church carrying out its primary role of evangelization with all the violence, the killings and the displacement that was going on,” the 61-year-old Archbishop.

He explained the challenge, “We were mostly caught up in providing care for the victims of violence instead of concentrating on spreading the word of God.”

“Christians, not only Catholics, can play a greater role in bringing peace and harmony wherever they are,” he said, and added, “We are told that we are the salt of the earth and light of the world and we should take that to heart and make it materialize wherever we are.” 

The Archbishop spoke to ACI Africa on the sidelines of the weeklong SCBC annual Plenary Assembly that kicked off November 9.

Reports and updates from the two Dioceses in Sudan and seven in South Sudan were shared alongside those from the national institutions of the Catholic Church functioning in the two sister countries.

Participants discussed the scrutiny on the preparation for the National Eucharistic Congress in 2021 and also revisited the operation of the Episcopal Commissions and Committees of the General and Regional secretariats of South Sudan and Sudan.

Additionally, a presentation of the draft on Child Safeguarding by the Association of Member Episcopal Conferences in Eastern Africa (AMECEA) was made. Participants also discussed the way to make structures and management of SCBC more effective.   

“The president will announce the major resolutions but I must say that we discussed all important aspects exhaustively,” Archbishop Didi told ACI Africa November 15, choosing not to divulge details of their Plenary Assembly that was concluding the following day.

The Archbishop said he is happy that the people of God in Sudan seem to have embraced brotherhood and are living together in harmony, their different religious affiliations notwithstanding.

He said that people in Sudan would need time to change their view about religion in the Arab country where, for 30 years, the only religion that was believed to be the right one was Islam.


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ACI Africa was officially inaugurated on August 17, 2019 as a continental Catholic news agency at the service of the Church in Africa. Headquartered in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, this media apostolate will strive to facilitate the telling of Africa’s story by providing media coverage of Catholic events on the African continent, giving visibility to the activities of the Church across Africa where statistics show significant growth in numbers and the continent gradually becoming the axis of Catholicism. This is expected to contribute to an awareness of and appreciation for the significant role of the Church in Africa and over time, the realization of a realistic image of Africa that often receives negative media framing.

Father Don Bosco Onyalla
Editor-in-Chief, ACI Africa
[email protected]