JUBA JANUARY 22, 2016(CISA)-Archbishop Paulino Lukudu Loro of the Archdiocese of Juba has said that the issue of peace is still a key issue in both Sudan and South Sudan “because we are at war.”
“The issue of peace is still a priority in both countries, especially South Sudan, “because we are at war,” Archbishop Loro told Vatican Radio’s 105Live January 20.
Speaking shortly after meeting with Pope Francis and bishops of Sudan and South Sudan in a meeting organized by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, Archbishop Loro said that without peace in the two countries it was near impossible to practice religion.
“Without peace, religion has difficulties,” Archbishop Loro said. During the encounter, the bishops invited the Holy Father to visit South Sudan.
South Sudan achieved independence from Sudan in 2011, after decades of a civil war which killed over two million people.
Despite initial hopes of a peaceful future after independence was achieved, a civil conflict broke out in 2013 between factions in South Sudan.
The new civil war has killed thousands of people and displaced over one million others. Archbishop Loro said that the Church must address the issue of vacant dioceses, as well as providing support for the local clergy. “We must discuss with our superiors in the Congregation [for the Evangelization of People] about how to proceed and accomplish our goals,” the Archbishop said.
“There are many questions from us on how to proceed.” The Catholic Church in South Sudan has one archdiocese, and six suffragan dioceses.
The bishops are members of the Sudan Catholic Bishops’ Conference, which includes the bishops from Sudan.
Catholics make up over a third of the population in South Sudan whereas in Sudan, Catholics make up just over 3 percent of the population, while the vast majority of the people are Muslims.