Juba (Agenzia Fides) - “The cancelation of a planned visit by Pope Francis to South Sudan must be met with respect and prayer! The reasons for the cancellation surely go beyond superficial speculation and could be due to the challenges facing our country” says Bishop Barani Eduardo Hiiboro Kussala, of the diocese of Tombura-Yambio, also President of the Catholic Bishop’s Conference of Sudan and South Sudan, in a message regarding the cancellation of the Holy Father’s visit to South Sudan.
At the end of February this year during his visit to the All Saints Anglican Church in Rome, Pope Francis said he was considering travelling to the African country together with Justin Welby the Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury. At the beginning of June, Holy See spokesman Greg Burke announced the cancellation of the visit to Juba, planned in October, although never confirmed by the Holy See.
Bishop Kussala expresses the disappointment of the people of South Sudan, who saw it as an occasion to restore peace in the tormented African nation, the smallest in the world (independent since 2011), while encouraging the people to work to render the visit possible at a later, not too distant, date.
“We must all engage in spiritual discernment, building of peace to create the positive atmosphere necessary to allow the Holy Father’s visit to happen”.
Civil war which broke out in 2013 caused a serious humanitarian crisis involving millions of internally displaced persons and refugees from neighbouring countries sheltering in the country, paving the way for the present famine affecting the lives of a least 5 million people. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 12/6/2017)