BUKAVU, Congo (CNS) — Catholic bishops in eastern Congo urged better government protection for local communities, which staged a day of strikes for victims of recent violence.
“We deplore the perverse, persisting insecurity that causes such immeasurable suffering to our populations, and we ask the Christian faithful to make concrete nonviolent gestures of solidarity and fraternal communion,” said bishops from eastern Congo.
“We also urge the national, regional and international authorities to be more active in safeguarding our peace, national unity and territorial integrity.”
The declaration, signed by Archbishop Francois Xavier Maroy Rusengo of Bukavu, was issued as church-owned schools, hospitals and social services shut down Dec. 2 in a “day of mourning, prayer and communion” with those caught up in attacks by armed groups.
It said bishops from six eastern dioceses had debated the “violence raging ever more acutely and terrifyingly” in North and South Kivu provinces. The statement said the bishops backed the strikes out of “compassion for all victims of this inhuman violence.”
The Catholic Church’s six archdioceses and 41 dioceses include two-thirds of Congo’s 67.5 million inhabitants.
The church has been deeply involved in efforts to secure peace in the mineral-rich country, where 4.5 million people are currently displaced and a fifth of the population needs basic assistance, according to the United Nations. Up to 6 million people have died in conflicts since 1995, mainly over control of natural resources.
The secretary-general of the provincial bishops’ assembly, Msgr. Jean-Marie Vianney Kitumaini, told Radio France International Dec. 2 the bishops believed “much more effective engagement” was needed by the Congolese government and international community. He said politicians were preoccupied with “seeking their own advantages. Although elections have taken place in the Congo, we don’t sense any firm commitment to resolve issues afflicting these provinces.”
In a Nov. 26 message, the Congolese bishops’ conference said 80 people were killed that month, “and it should be emphasized these massacres are sometimes committed near Congolese army installations and police and military patrols.”
Join the CatholicPhilly.com family
CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you and hundreds of other people become part of our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community and sustain CatholicPhilly.com as your trusted news source. Thank you in advance!
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103