Ugandan Prelate Laments Dangers in the North

Archbishop of Gulu Issues an Appeal in Pastoral Letter

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GULU, Uganda, JULY 4, 2003 ( The title of Archbishop John Baptist Odama’s pastoral letter strikes an urgent note about the dire conditions of this eastern African nation.

In «I Have Seen the Humiliation of My People and Heard Their Cry,» the archbishop of Gulu laments «the cruel conduct of the warring parties in conflict» in northern Uganda and he underlines the intolerable suffering of children and mothers.

In his letter, the 54-year-old archbishop, known for his peace efforts in the region, expressed his solidarity with the innocent who are forced to suffer.

«Dear brothers and sisters, it is uniquely for this same love of all of you that I, Shepherd of Christ’s flock, cannot keep quiet when I see the daily humiliation and misery, and hear the cry of my people,» he said in his letter dated June 29 and released Thursday by the Misna missionary agency.

«Every Christian faithful and every God-fearing person knows that our faith is a mission we are bound to accomplish. This mission for us is strictly peaceful, loving and respectful of the dignity in human persons of all walks and stages of life,» the archbishop said.

At the same time that the archbishop highlights the Christian values of forgiveness and reconciliation, he points out that «all those who continue to attack us, our churches, our schools and families are indeed daring to attack Almighty God.»

Furthermore, Archbishop Odama called for major national and international involvement to bring about a peaceful solution to the conflict, which pits the rebel Lord’s Resistance Army against the Ugandan forces.

«I want to remind the indifferent world that the people of the northern and northeastern districts of Uganda — Acholi, Langi, Teso, Karimojong, Lugbara, Madi, Alur and many others — subjected to such atrocities, are part of Uganda and of the whole humanity who should enjoy equal rights, responsibility and dignity,» he said.

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