VATICAN CITY – Pope Benedict XVI encouraged the bishops of the Central African Republic to continue efforts to promote peace and reconciliation in their country.
“Peace and national harmony are among the most urgent challenges to which the church in your country must respond,” the pope told the bishops June 1 at the end of their “ad limina” visits to the Vatican.
“The promotion of peace, justice and reconciliation is an expression of Christian faith in the love that God nourishes for each human being,” he said. “May the church resolutely continue to announce the peace of Christ while working with all people of good will for justice and reconciliation.”
Frequent military coups and coup attempts have left the Central African Republic divided. Hundreds of thousands of people remain displaced, and sporadic fighting continues between government forces and rebels in the North.
Pope Benedict expressed his hope that the international community would pay more attention to situations of tension and poverty in Africa and would act promptly to help.
“I also invite all the faithful to beg the Lord for the invaluable gift of peace, because prayer opens the heart and inspires artisans of peace,” he said.