Video messages of Pope Francis, Archbishop Welby and Moderator Greenshields to South Sudanese people

4 Jul 2022

On Saturday 2 July, the scheduled day of departure for his postponed Apostolic visit to the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan, Pope Francis, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, and the Moderator of the Church of Scotland, Iain Greenshields, each issued video messages addressed to the people of South Sudan.

In his message (see video below), Pope Francis spoke of the cry for peace that comes from the South Sudanese people who await concrete results to come from the process of national reconciliation. He urged them not to lose hope but, beginning with their political leaders, to turn a page, to lay down arms and to write new pages of reconciliation, fraternity and development.

Pope Francis also spoke of his desire to contribute to the peace process, “not alone, but by making an ecumenical pilgrimage together with two dear brothers, the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland.” He said that they have not lost hope of being able to make the visit, “to see your faces” and “to feel at home in your lively Christian communities”.

Archbishop Welby, in his message, also spoke of the three leaders’ spiritual closeness to the people of South Sudan and their desire to visit: “Pope Francis, Moderator Iain and I wanted to visit to encourage and stand in solidarity with you as you hope for peace.” He urged the country’s leaders to work together, even with their enemies, in order “to change the spirit of revenge into the spirit of reconciliation.” Like Pope Francis, Archbishop Welby reaffirmed the three leaders’ commitment to visit as soon as possible: “I hope that I also will be with you very soon, with my brothers Pope Francis and Moderator Iain.”

The Reverend Iain Greenshields, Moderator of the Church of Scotland, also issued a video message in which he also assured the people of South Sudan of his prayers and of the three church leaders’ determination to visit their country.