“Without peace one can do nothing” in South Sudan, which, however, has all that is necessary to develop, said Cardinal Peter Turkson, Prefect of the Dicastery for Integral Human Development: “a situation is necessary, a somewhat pacific atmosphere to be able to set up certain projects.”
For a long time the Holy See has tried to find a way to achieve peace, explained Cardinal Turkson in Italian on Vatican Radio on July 1, 2017.
On June 21, the Cardinal presented the initiative “The Pope for Sudan,” and he also announced the investment of 500,000 euros in the country, allocated to projects in the areas of health, education and agriculture.
“The Holy Father has already shown his concern by sending some aid for education, for health and for medications. It’s a lovely gesture, but the situation in South Sudan calls also for something more,” said Cardinal Turkson.
“Without a situation of peace, which makes possible the realization of these projects, everything is difficult,” he stressed.
However, the Prefect was optimistic, saying “we must . . . succeed in achieving peace in Sudan.
“And not only in South Sudan,” he noted. “The Pope showed this same solicitude, this same concern for the Central African Republic; we must have the same for South Sudan. The Holy Father would have liked to go to visit South Sudan,” he added.
“Hence my optimism is not due to the fact that it is said of this country that it is a “Christian Republic,” because this is not altogether true . . . Other religious are found there; there is Islam, there are Muslims . . .
The fact is that, in face of a suffering humanity, as the first phrase of Gaudium et Spes states, this suffering cannot but touch the whole world. I am convinced that this country has all the potential necessary to pursue its development,” he continued.
Cardinal Peter Turkson has gone twice to Sudan. “I must say that respect for the Church exists always. Respect for the Church is such that when other diplomats are unable to have audiences, persons of the Church, such as the Nuncio, as me, try to take their message to resolve the situation somewhat. That is why I believe that the Church still has a role to play in this situation, a role to be exercised, whatever it is.”
“We foresee a visit in the near future to take stock of the situation, to program a plan of aid and assistance in favor of the population, which is on the run,” said the Prefect.
The country’s population is not abandoned by the humanitarian organizations. “There is a United Nations base in three places. There are Blue Helmets of the UN, the European Union with their Ambassador and then several organisms and other groups.” The people are in need of houses, agriculture, schools, hospitals and there are organisms ready to help in this connection,” he explained.
However, peace is necessary for the realization of projects, repeated Cardinal Turkson. “In the 1960s, Pope Paul VI said that the new name of peace is development but, he added immediately after, development calls necessarily for peace.”