September 29th, 2014 (Juba)– The Roman Catholic Church declared on Friday that the civil war in South Sudan is ‘evil’ and ‘immoral,’ saying that large-scale ethnic killing has created a cycle of fear and revenge, with perceptions that one tribe or another “deserves to rule.”
South Sudan’s Conference of Catholic Bishops concluded a three-day meeting in Juba on Friday, attended by bishops and other leaders of the Church, including the visiting Archbishop Charles Daniel Balvo, the envoy of the Pope, who heads the Roman Catholic Church.
A declaration signed by the bishops was read to the press on Friday by Archbishop Paulino Lokudu.
“We the Catholic Bishops of South Sudan… solemnly declare that the current war in South Sudan is evil, as we have said in previous messages,” reads the declaration.
“There is no moral justification for any further killing. We can accept no excuses nor conditions from any party or individual for continuation of the war. The fighting and killing must stop immediately and unconditionally. Political and other grievances must indeed be addressed, but only when the fighting is stopped,” it says.
“These issues are on the table in Ethiopia, and will be addressed in the political process. We declare before God that it is evil for any party to continue violence to try to further their political agenda.”
The bishops added that the war has “once again reinforced the culture of violence with which he have lived so many decades…,” adding, “human rights are still under threat, including freedom of speech. …. it has created a humanitarian tragedy, thousands have been killed and hundreds of thousands displaced.”
“Our traumatized population has been re-traumatized by atrocities,” the statement says. “Once again we declare this war immoral, and we demand an immediate end to all hostilities so that these humanitarian concerns can be addressed.”
Rise of tribalism
The bishops stated, “We call attention to the rise of tribalism as a result of the conflict. Traditionally, the peoples of South Sudan do not hate each other… Large scale ethnic killing has created a cycle of fear, hatred and revenge.”
“Our politics is become ethnic with perceptions from various communities that one tribe or other is favored, or that one tribe or another is underrepresented, or even that one tribe or another deserves to rule.”
“We condemn tribalism and repeat our earlier call for ‘one people’ from every tribe, tongue and nationality. We are South Sudanese and we call for the creation of a national identity which builds on but transcends our tribal roots and heritage.”
The bishops concluded their declaration by quoting from a Biblical prophesy that all weapons will one day be destroyed.