Synod Fathers Send Support to Great Lakes Africans

Denounce Violence, Stress Sacredness of Life

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VATICAN CITY, OCT. 20, 2009 ( The synod fathers currently gathered in Rome are sending a message to Africans of the Great Lakes region, expressing solidarity with the people while decrying the persistent violence there.

The letter from participants in the Second Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops was sent today to the presidents of the bishops’ conferences of Sudan, Uganda, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic.

The synod fathers stated, «We have learned with deep sorrow of the persistent war in the dioceses in the Great Lakes’ region, with its consequential destruction, violence and death of innocent people.»

They noted that «hundreds of thousands of persons have been forced to abandon their homes and seek refuge in adjoining countries in extremely perilous conditions» to «avoid being killed.»

The prelates expressed concern regarding the «worrisome situation of child-soldiers, orphans, those who are maimed and persons with grave physical and psychological problems.»

They continued, «As synod fathers, in solidarity with the synod’s president, Our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, we wish to express our deepest sentiments of fraternal communion with the bishops of the dioceses involved in this inhuman suffering of innocent peoples.»

The letter also addressed the perpetrators of the violence, «imploring them to replace at once the language of arms with that of dialogue and negotiation.»

It affirmed: «In dialogue, undertaken in mutual respect and peace, all problems can be solved. War, instead, makes everything more difficult, enticing the transformation of brothers into enemies.»

The prelates underlined the «sacred value of every human life» a law that is «written in the heart of every person who comes into this world.»

They said: «It is not lawful to kill innocent people for whatever reason, whether it be social, political, ethnic, racial or religious. The blood of the innocent cries to heaven for vengeance, to a God who sooner or later will judge those who have stained their hands with the blood of the poor, who are his chosen ones.»

«While we are reflecting on reconciliation, justice and peace,» the synod participants stated, «we implore, through the intercession of the saints, born in Africa, the gift of peace so that justice may come about in those areas where it has been gravely missing and that hearts might be open to the grace of reconciliation with God and neighbor, not only in the Great Lakes’ region but in all of Africa.»

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