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Pope agrees to trip to South Sudan during ecumenical meeting with religious leaders


Pope Francis personally invited the Presbyterian, Episcopal and Catholic bishops of South Sudan to meet with him in Rome, as evidence of existing collaboration in protecting the dignity of the helpless and implementing initiatives for communication and forgiveness.

In this meeting, the religious leaders presented the current situation facing the people of South Sudan, who are a majority 70 percent Christian. The three bishops also asked Pope Francis to make a personal visit to their country. 

South Sudanese Episcopalian archbishop 
"We actually asked him if he could visit South Sudan and if he can make it together with the Archbishop of Canterbury. It will be big news for us in the country, because we have asked him if possibly the Church should be supported to lead the process of reconciliation and peace in the country.”

For the three leaders, the pope's trip would leave a lasting impact on the entire country, as they hope the pope would address not only the Christians present, but also civil society as a whole. 

South Sudanese Presbyterian archbishop
"The war, when there is a problem, it is always the violence. The violence is violence, so you cannot expect good things unless people also talk and advise that you cannot do this. That's what also the Church says, so that when we saw these things happening, we said, 'Stop it.' And it's better if there are any grievances toward one another, it's better to sit and iron these things out through dialogue, not through violence.”

It is with this strong belief in dialogue that the leaders traveled to Rome to continue the process of increased communication about their present situation and the lack of support they feel by their government and the entire international community.

South Sudanese Catholic archbishop
"So our visit here is very much being followed at home, that we are coming to see the pope and there is a great, great hope in this. And therefore, I think for refugees it will be not only a chance to feel that very much there is something moving and with the coming visit of the pope, we have the chance of going back home. So this hope is there and in the people in the country.” 

The religious leaders hold tight to this hope that one day, there will once again be peace in South Sudan, and neither the Muslims nor the Christians will be persecuted against for their faith or beliefs