JUBA, FEBRUARY 3, 2015(CISA)-The Catholic bishops of South Sudan have issued stern warning to political leaders on the consequences of the civil war.
In a statement sent to CISA on January 30 after a three-day meeting in Juba, the bishops said that the nation “has abandoned the ways of God” by waging an “evil war.”
The bishops called on political leaders to do more than “hand-shakes in front of TV cameras” to end the civil war.
“This war is about power, not about the good of the people,” the bishops declared Friday.
Citing a Biblical passage (Mark 10:42-45) in which Jesus criticizes the “rulers of the heathen” for lording it over their people rather than serving them, the bishops argued that a government that wages war against its own people is not a legitimate government.
“A legitimate government is one which is able to bring peace… Any party that continues to fight the war against the innocent citizens of South Sudan has no legitimacy,” reads the statement signed by seven bishops and diocesan heads and witnessed by a representative of the Vatican.
The statement adds, “South Sudan has always been considered a God-fearing nation, whether Christians, Muslims or followers of traditional religion. But in this senseless and inhuman war the nation has abandoned the ways of God.”
The bishops appealed to umbrella organization of Christian denominations in the nation- the South Sudan Council of Churches (SSCC), saying, “Together let us once again make South Sudan a God-fearing nation.”
Furthermore, the bishops said it would be “sinful” for either party to launch an offensive now.
“This war is evil. As a people we must not be afraid to name sin for what it is, and we hereby name this war as a sin. It is sinful for either party now to mount a dry season offensive.”
The bishops spoke four days after President Salva Kiir was quoted by Reuters complained that a peace agreement would “pin us down, preventing his troops from making military gains ahead of the rainy season.”