South African Cardinal to Observe Sudanese Referendum

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PRETORIA, South Africa, JAN. 7, 2011 (Zenit.org).- The archbishop of Durban, South Africa, will be in Sudan on Sunday to form part of an ecumenical monitoring team that will observe Southern Sudan’s referendum on secession.

The Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference is reporting that Cardinal Wilfrid Napier will be a guest of Archbishop Paulino Lokudu Loro, the archbishop of Juba, and that the ecumenical monitoring team will be comprised of representatives from all over Africa.

Cardinal Napier said the vote will be “historic, as it allows ordinary people who have endured the brunt of civil war and development exclusion a chance to reclaim their own dignity.”

The vote for secession is expected to pass, which would mark the beginning of splitting the large African country in two.

The Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference has been strongly supportive of the people of Southern Sudan since 1994, according to a press statement: “Initially, this was by hosting a Sudan desk as part of the Justice and Peace Department of the Conference at the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference Secretariat in Pretoria.

“Later, with the formation of the Denis Hurley Peace Institute as an Associate Body of the Conference, much work has been done to facilitate peace building in Sudan.”

The conference reported that in 2010, it conducted six solidarity visits to Sudan.

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