Pope Benedict XVI

Benedict XVI is urging an end to violence in Darfur and Kampala, but reminding that a mere absence of conflict does not constitute true peace.

The Pope called for justice in Sudan and Uganda when he gave individual messages in writing to new ambassadors to the Holy See from those two nations and six others.

Three of the new ambassadors are from Africa; in addition to the Sudanese and Ugandan representatives, the Kenyan ambassador also presented his credentials on Thursday.

In English-language addresses for the three Africans, the Holy Father reflected on true peace that comes from “the establishment of justice, reconciliation and solidarity.”

In the address to Francis Butagira of Uganda, the Pontiff lamented how the “campaign of violence in the north of the country has devastated large areas. The tragedy for the local populations is clear for all to see. Some have had their childhood shattered and have been forced to commit deplorable crimes; there has been extensive destruction of property; widows and orphans are living in dire poverty; and many displaced persons are still unable or afraid to return to their villages and fields.”

Benedict XVI noted how it is understood that the situation is improving somewhat, and he expressed his hope that “the lack of security will finally be replaced by a stable peace and prosperity for the sorely tried people of the area.”

The Pope noted how reconciliation and peace were precisely the themes of the special synod on Africa, held at the Vatican in October.

VATICAN CITY, DEC. 18, 2009 (Zenit.org)