Rome Newsroom, 03 February, 2023 / 3:40 pm (ACI Africa).
On the first day of his peace pilgrimage, Pope Francis begged the leaders of South Sudan to work together to put an end to bloody conflict and violence in their country.
“In the name of God, of the God to whom we prayed together in Rome, of the God who is gentle and humble in heart, the God in whom so many people of this beloved country believe, now is the time to say ‘No more of this,’ we say no more, without ‘ifs’ or ‘buts,’” the pope said Feb. 3, addressing South Sudan’s president and vice presidents in the garden of the presidential residence in Juba.
“No more bloodshed, no more conflicts, no more violence and mutual recriminations about who is responsible for it, no more leaving your people a thirst for peace,” he said. “No more destruction: It is time to build! Leave the time of war behind and let a time of peace dawn!”
Francis addressed South Sudan’s government and members of the diplomatic corps after a 30-minute private meeting with President Salva Kiir Mayardit and a second half-hour private meeting with the three vice presidents.
The trip, a desire of Pope Francis for years, follows a visit of nearly four days in the Democratic Republic of Congo.