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South Sudan’s bishops rue corruption, tribalism

Catholic World News - November 21, 2013

The bishops of South Sudan have expressed concern about political corruption and ethnic tensions in the world’s newest nation.

In 2011, South Sudan, which is largely Christian and animist, became independent from Sudan, whose Islamist regime is known for its human rights violations.

“There is much to celebrate in the new Republic of South Sudan,” the bishops said in a pastoral message. “Building a new nation is not a quick nor easy task. Most of our people are living in peace and democracy for the first time in decades. There is religious freedom, with Muslims, Christians and followers of African traditional religion able to practice their faith without obstacles. The ecumenical spirit which led the churches through the war is still strong.”

“We remain concerned about governance issues, including corruption and nepotism,” the bishops cautioned. “Only an open and transparent government in which the people have a chance to participate can bring lasting peace and justice to our nation.”

“We are concerned that inter-communal tension and conflict continues in many parts of the country, particularly in Jonglei State. We call on South Sudanese to be proud of their tribal heritage, culture and traditions, but not to be drawn into tribalism which sets one group against another. No politician nor leader should instigate or exacerbate ethnic tension for their own ends.”

“We ask for the blessing of Christ the King on our nation, its citizens, its government, its friends and collaborators worldwide, and even on those who seek harm,” the bishops concluded. “God’s love is unconditional. Repent and believe the Good News!”

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