“Fear is driven out by perfect love”: Vatican Secretary of State to South Sudanese

Pietro Cardinal Parolin (middle) alongside Apostolic Nuncio in Kenya and South Sudan, Archbishop Hubertus van Megen (left) being received in Rumbek Diocese by Bishop Christian Carlassare (right) on 17 August 2023. Credit: Fr. Erick Wanyonyi SJ/Rumbek

Fear is an enemy of peace, and it makes people weak and fragile, Pietro Cardinal Parolin has said in his message to the people of God in South Sudan on the last day of his four-day visit to the East Central African country.

In his homily at Holy Family Cathedral of Rumbek on August 17, Cardinal Parolin said that fear, which he said could also be a consequence of sin, can only be driven out by “perfect love.” 

“When people live in sin, they live in fear. Sin makes people weak and fragile, unable to sympathize with others in their suffering, unable to strive for justice, peace, and communion, unable to build a more fraternal community,”

Fear, the Cardinal said, “may also arise from within ourselves, from our self-doubts and questioning, our failures and anxieties, and above all from the reality of sin.”

He continued, “We proclaim and celebrate the fact that perfect love has been revealed in Jesus Christ because in him God has reconciled the world to himself and has given us the gift of peace through the power of the Holy Spirit by fearlessly offering himself on the cross.”


“Jesus Christ dispelled every lingering doubt and distress,” he said. 

The Vatican-based Cardinal noted that when people live in a continual state of insecurity and fear, violence can erupt so easily and for no apparent reason.

 The 68-year-old Church leader said that despite the disciples’ encounter with the risen Lord, they still feared for their lives, and explained, “Like the disciples, we also experience inconsistencies within our communities.”

“My brothers and sisters, in your search for justice and peace, listen to what the Lord God has to say, follow in Christ’s footsteps without fear,” he said.

On August 15 while in the Catholic Diocese of Malakal on the invitation of Bishop Stephen Nyodho Ador Majwok,  Cardinal Parolin comforted returnees and refugees who were displaced by the Sudan war that broke out on April 15 and expressed the closeness of the Holy Father with them. 

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He assured those who had been displaced of the help of the international community, saying, “We can raise the attention and the interest of the international community towards your situation just to provide the means to solve your problems to go back to your places of origin in a very safe and dignified way…I promise you, we will try to do so.” 

On his first day in the country on August 14, Cardinal Parolin urged South Sudanese to embrace the spirit of peace and reconciliation in order to build a harmonious society.

Kerbino Kuel Deng is a South Sudanese journalist who is passionate about Church communication. He holds a Bachelor's Degree in Social Communications from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA). He currently works as a Journalist for ACI Africa.