The Metropolitan Archbishop of Juba, Paolino Lukudu Loro has called upon the South Sudanese to engage in peace and reconciliation for the building of the new nation. His Grace urged the Catholic community to spearhead the process.
The Archbishop was speaking while giving his Christmas message to all South Sudanese Christians. He said, “I would like to take this opportunity to extend to you my heartfelt greetings wishing you all a happy and blessed Christmas in peace and harmony on behalf of the Catholic Church in Juba and in the whole of South Sudan.”
“We, the Catholic community, should take an active part in this process in order to promote what the Pope calls a political culture needed for development and for peace. The Holy Father makes a special appeal, he asks Catholics to make an effort to eliminate the death penalty from Africa,” the archbishop said.
“We need to ask Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, to teach us this new culture of Peace and Reconciliation. Peace is the only way that can lead us to national development based on the dignity of each and every citizen,” he added.
Archbishop Lukudu has asked the government to include the church in the process of building the permanent constitution next year.
“Our Transitional Constitution allows the death penalty as punishment for extremely serious offences in accordance with the law. Criminals should be punished but no one – including the State – has the right to take away the life of any person. Let us promote a culture of reconciliation, justice and peace by abolishing the death penalty from our laws. It will be an act of cultural and humanitarian advancement,” Lukudu said.
“Now that we are building a permanent constitution, our government must know by all means that the Church must be included in the process. If the church is not included, I will say from the beginning that we are going the wrong way,” he added.
The Archbishop appealed to the Government of South Sudan to use peaceful measures to resolve the border disputes with the help of the international community.
According to the Archbishop, during the whole Interim Period, the people of South Sudan have been yearning for the delivery of basic services, which include clean water, health services, education, food, security, electricity, roads and many others. The President Salva Kiir had promised a 100 days action plan to provide these services to the population.
“President Kiir told the joint Legislature in its first sitting in Juba on August 8 that each Minister had to show the ability to deliver a number of services during the first 100 days of governance; those who were unable to fulfil the 100-Day program would go. We are still waiting to see the reports on the activities carried out by our Government during its first 100 days.”
In another development, the Archbishop commended the death of Geoge Athor saying that time has come for a balanced opposition.
“We should not take opposition that takes away more lives. That is against the will of God. As South Sudanese we should feel sorry and as the Church in South Sudan it is painful for us. Let everybody react in such a way that does not destroy or kill. We need to change our minds. We need to change our tactics for peace building in South Sudan,” Said the Archbishop.