Let’s “individually, collectively” Work for Lasting Peace: Ethiopia's Bishops on New Year

Members of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Ethiopia (CBCE). Credit: CBCE

Members of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Ethiopia (CBCE) have urged the people of God in the Horn of Africa nation to “individually and collectively” work towards lasting peace as the country marks its New Year on Tuesday, September 12.

Like many Eastern Orthodox churches, Ethiopians follow a 13-month calendar; they trail the western calendar by seven years and eight months. On the Gregorian Calendar, the Ethiopian New Year falls on September 11, with the exception of a leap year, like 2023, when it is marked on September 12.

In their New Year message that ACI Africa obtained Tuesday, September 12, CBCE members reflect on the state of the country that has witnessed violent conflicts, including fresh clashes between the military and local Fano militia in the country’s Amhara region that erupted in August, barely a year after the November 2022 peace agreement.

“In order to live in peace with all people in this new year we received from God, we need to prepare to fulfill our responsibilities individually and collectively to bring lasting peace to our country,” Catholic Bishops in Ethiopia say.

They add, “It is because of the war waged against us by Satan that we are supposed to work together to be a weapon of unity and peace.”


CBCE members acknowledge the country’s racial and religious diversity and urge Ethiopians to embrace oneness as a family, shunning the devil’s tactics of discord because they were not “created to live a life without peace.”

“The spirit of racism and hatred that is seen in our country today is not one that shows the true identity of Ethiopians,” they lament, adding, “Our enemy is the devil, who prowls around like a lion looking for something to come out (1 Peter) 5:8).”

The Catholic Church leaders attribute racism in the country to adherence to foreign values, saying that traditionally, “Ethiopians were ethically raised (to) love and fear God, (to) have spiritual and cultural values, (to) respect themselves and respect others” and that they were not “known for racism.”

“Our values are getting worse because of the pressure that is caused on us from outside and inside, our common identity (our Ethiopianism) is down to racism,” they lament, and add, “We have disrespected our proud culture and identity; we have abandoned our true identity.”

In their New Year message, CBCE members underscore the need for spiritual exercises in the search for lasting peace. 

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“Peace does not come only by wish, it requires fasting, prayer, discussion, and justice,” they say, adding in reference to the Beatitudes in the Gospel of Matthew, blessed are “those who bring down peace... for they shall be called the children of God.”

With peace, the Catholic Bishops in Ethiopia emphasize “we can worship according to our religion,” and also reject racism and other evils. 

With peace, they continue, “We share the happiness and sadness of others in times of sadness and happiness; we comfort and console.” 

“We work calmly when our country is peaceful. If there is no peace the loss is all of us,” CBCE members say in their New Year message on September 12.

Silas Mwale Isenjia is a Kenyan journalist with a great zeal and interest for Catholic Church related communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communication from Moi University in Kenya. Silas has vast experience in the Media production industry. He currently works as a Journalist for ACI Africa.