Catholic and Anglican bishops in the Congo have come together in a joint campaign meant to promote unity in this nation that has been up until recently ravaged by violence from an armed rebel group.
The Association of Episcopal Conferences of Central Africa (ACEAC) brings together the Catholic Bishops of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi and Rwanda and the Association of Anglican bishops. The joint initiative will be titled “Peace in the Great Lakes.”
Bishop Fridoin Ambongo of Bokungo, president of the Commission For Justice and Peace of the ACEAC, presented the campaign in Kinshasa. The Congolese prelate spoke about the recent defeat of the M23 rebel group, which terrorized the area of North Kivu.
“The pastors of the Anglican and the Catholic Church of the Great Lakes rejoice over the recent developments in the region, particularly in the east of the DRC. We thank those who made this evolution possible,” Bishop Ambogo said.
The Bishop of Bokungo also emphasized that peace can not only be achieve by aid and diplomatic efforts by the international community, but also by true reconciliation within the country.
What is needed, he said, is “a process of healing and reconciliation of wounded hearts to bring out a true culture of peace that encourages respect for human rights and duties of each member of the community.”
The “Peace in the Great Lakes” campaign will launch Dec. 1 in the capital of North Kivu, as a means for both Catholics and Anglicans to contribute to fostering peace within the country. The event, Bishop Ambogo said, would help those who have been “shattered by the manipulations of conscience that have cultivated hatred.”
Both Catholic and Anglican communities will partner with CAFOD, the Catholic charitable agency for England and Wales, as well as US-based Catholic Relief Service (CRS) for the event.