VATICAN: Pope Francis Hints at Possible Visit to South Sudan

VATICAN CITY FEBRUARY 28, 2017(CISA)-Pope Francis has hinted at visiting war-ravaged South Sudan this year following invites by the bishops of South Sudan’s Anglican, Presbyterian and Catholic Churches.

“I’m studying, my colleagues are studying, the possibility of a trip to South Sudan in response to an invitation by bishops from the country,” he said.

The Pope was answering questions put to him on February 26 by Parishioners of All Saints Anglican Church in Rome. The church leaders had asked him to go to visit South Sudan, even for a day with the Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby.

According to Vatican Radio, the Pope said that the Bishops of the country hope the presence of the Bishop of Rome and the Primate of the Anglican Communion can help pacification.

“We are looking at whether it is possible, or if the situation down there is too dangerous. But we have to do it, because they – the three [Christian communities] – together desire peace, and they are working together for peace,” the Pope said.

The Pope statements come in the wake of South Sudan Bishop’s appeal for Aid and protection for civilians.

In their pastoral letter after a meeting with Apostolic Nuncio to South Sudan and Kenya Archbishop Charles Daniel Balvo on February 23, the Bishops said civil war continues despite their call to stop the war.

“Despite our calls to all parties, factions and individuals to stop the war, nevertheless killing, raping, looting, displacement, attacks on churches and destruction of property continue all over the country,” they said.

“We have instructed our Caritas South Sudan and requested our Caritas International partners to act urgently to alleviate the humanitarian crisis in South Sudan, and we call on the rest of the international community to do the same,” the Bishops said.

According to the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) update, 4.9 million people in need of urgent food, agriculture and nutrition assistance.

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