Catholics send peace messages to conflict zones

The Church should spearhead the peace building process in various conflict zones on the Africa continent, says the Catholic Church.

Bishop Eduardo Hiiboro, of Tombura-Yambio diocese in South Sudan said there were 17 countries in Africa either in conflict or recovering from one and that there was need for the Church to be part of the regional conversations to ensure that African countries developed social, economic and policies that respected human dignity.

Bishop Hiiboro said this when he made his submission during a study session at the ongoing Association of Member Episcopal Conference of Eastern Africa (AMECEA) plenary assembly in Lilongwe, Malawi.

He pointed out that conflicts and governance challenges in the AMECEA region, affected the evangelization mission of the church. “Another challenge the Church is facing today in Eastern Africa is the rising cases of Inter-religious conflicts and extremist violence, especially in Sudan and South Sudan, Tanzania, Nigeria and Kenya. Terrorist (alshabaab) acts leading to thousands of deaths are all threats to evangelization mission,” Bishop Hiiboro said.

The bishop also said lack of proper management of resources, massive unemployment, power struggle among political leaders and corruption were part of the threats to the evangelization mission.

He explained that the Church was trying to respond through Pastoral Letters, Catholic Justice and Peace Commissions, spiritual animations and liturgical services, Universities, colleges & schools and Social services but that the limitations to these channels were still enormous. “The limitations of the Pastoral Letters for instance include limited distribution and circulation, lack of engagement with structures of governance (dialogue through the media) and lack of adequate engagement with the professionals,” Bishop Hiiboro He said the Church could do this by encouraging human promotion in all forms, encouraging the culture of documentation, encouraging indigenous theological reflections and expanding the possibilities for preventing violence.

AMECEA consists of eight countries; Malawi, Kenya, Sudan, Tanzania, Eritrea, Zambia, Uganda and Ethiopia.

AMECEA conferences are held every three years and the Malawi meeting was the third time the country was hosting the conference.