Initiative to Build Peace in Great Lakes Region Praised by Catholic and Anglican Leaders

Cardinal Nichols Notes Importance of Learning How Memories and Hearts Have Been Healed

Vatican City, (Zenit.org) | 655 hits

A peace initiative aimed at helping to build peace in Africa's Great Lakes region has been lauded by England’s most senior Catholic prelate and Anglican officials.

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the Archbishop of Westminster, met with delegates from the 'Peace in the Great Lakes' campaign at Lambeth Palace in London last Thursday, reported Independent Catholic News.

“This initiative,” formally launched in December 2013, is aimed at reaching out to those most affected by conflict and longing for peace, including women and girls who experienced trauma and sexual violence.

The archbishop of Canterbury said it “is inspirational in bringing together different denominations and in working together across the region of the Great Lakes region to build peace.”

The campaign brings together Roman Catholic and Anglican leaders from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi and Rwanda to encourage a grass-roots movement for peace in the Great Lakes region, which for decades has been affected by political instability and armed conflicts, porous borders and humanitarian crisis, along with tensions over natural resources.

Archbishop Welby commended the campaign's vision to work for peace and reconciliation, saying he hoped other partners - such as CAFOD and Christian Aid - will continue to lend their support.

Cardinal Nichols said: “It is important we learn more in this country of your work together – to hear of your joint work of reconciliation and the healing of memories and hearts.”

During the meeting, which began with morning prayer in Lambeth Palace chapel, the delegation emphasised the need to foster a climate of confidence and cooperation in the region, stressing the importance of governments respecting the international accords and conventions they had signed.

Disarming armed groups was essential, they stated, adding that building peace in the region was closely connected with transparent and effective use of natural resources for the common good.

The upcoming global summit on “Preventing Sexual Violence,” which will include reflection on the role of faith leaders in building peace and security, was also discussed.

One delegate said: “This campaign, which brings together Catholics, Anglicans and other faith leaders, is a very important step and an example on building peace. We need assistance to accompany this process. The process must involve sharing stories, listening to the suffering of others moves people to pity and compassion. The Church seeks a justice which reconciles and builds peace.”

The delegation, which is visiting the UK and Ireland, included: Bishop Augustin Mvunabandi and Bishop Kambanda Antoine from Rwanda: Consolate Baranyizigiye from Burundi; and Bishop Fridolin Besungu Ambongo, Denise Mbuilu Malueki and Fr. Leonard Santedi from DRC. (D.C.L.)

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Independent Catholic News

Archbishop praises 'inspirational' Great Lakes peace initiative