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Pope brings those responsible for South Sudanese war to Vatican to pray for peace


For the first time, in an unprecedented meeting, the Vatican will host two conflicting leaders for a joint prayer.

Salva Kiir, the president of South Sudan, and his opponent, former vice president Riek Machar, will spend several days together at the Vatican. They will be participating in a spiritual retreat. That is how Card. Parolin explained it during a meeting organized by the StandTogether project and the United States Embassy to the Holy See. 

CARD. PIETRO PAROLIN
Secretary of State, Vatican
“It will be a spiritual moment, and above all, an invitation to realize the responsibility political leaders and authorities have.”

On several occassions, Pope Francis has expressed his desire to travel to South Sudan. However, thus far, there have not been appropriate conditions. 

Therefore, given that he cannot go, he will invite the two leaders responsible for the South Sudanese civil war to the Vatican. The purpose is to have them pray for peace and understanding together.

CARD. PIETRO PAROLIN
Secretary of State, Vatican
“In the end, he will participate. The pope will also be there.”

South Sudan is the youngest country in the world. Its independence was proclaimed in 2011 from its northern neighbors. They had hope of achieving peace, but, instead only two years later a civil war began. The war is ongoing and has left hundreds dead and more than 4 million displaced.