WASHINGTON--The bishops of South Sudan appreciate the support of the international community and call for greater emergency assistance as well as pressure for dialogue to keep their country from descending into increased poverty and conflict, said the chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on International Justice and Peace in an October 22 letter to Ambassador Donald Booth, special envoy to Sudan and South Sudan.
Bishop Richard E. Pates of Des Moines, Iowa, relayed a message of hope from the Catholic Bishops Conference of South Sudan, in which the bishops condemned all parties engaging in war in their country. They expressed gratitude for the international community and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), a grouping of nations in East Africa sponsoring peace negotiations, in providing aid to their country. They also called on political leaders to engage in dialogue, not war. Bishop Pates thanked Ambassador Booth for his efforts and noted that religious leaders across South Sudan look to the Catholic Church in that country for leadership in bringing an end to civil war.
"I urge you to continue your work with IGAD to intensify your combined pressure on the South Sudan government and opposition leaders to halt the fighting," wrote Bishop Pates. "We also urge you to engage and assist faith leaders in envisioning a new future for the country and mobilizing their people to realize that new vision. We are grateful for your collaboration in these efforts with Catholic Relief Services, one of the Church's trusted partners, and hope will you continue this partnership."
The full text of the letter is available online.