DAILY CATHOLIC     THURSDAY     May 27, 1999     vol. 10, no. 102

NEWS & VIEWS
from a CATHOLIC perspective

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SUDANESE PRELATE FEARS FOR COUNTRY'S FUTURE

          VATICAN (CWNews.com) -- In an interview published by May 26 by the Italian daily Avvenire, the Archbishop of Khartoum has voiced his fears for the future of Sudan after 16 years of devastating famine and civil war.

          Archbishop Gabriel Zubeir Wako said that government military troops continue to assail towns in the south of Sudan, where the rebel forces are strongest. That fighting will mean "even more suffering for the civilian population," he predicted. He also expressed keen regret at the postponement of negotiations between the Khartoum government and rebel leaders. "If the fighting continues, the two parties can never come together to advance the peace talks," he said. "History is repeating itself."

          Along with the military clashes, the people of Sudan are endangered by famine, the archbishop pointed out. And this year, a lack of rain in May has compounded the problem, since the dry lands will not yield adequate crops to feed the hungry people.

          The Catholic Church-- which represents less than 10 percent of the country's population-- is "not much appreciated" by the government, Archbishop Wako said. The Khartoum regime has been engaged in an aggressive campaign to "Islamicize" the entire country, and Catholics are often seen as obstacles to the progress of that effort. However, he argued that the Church could offer a great deal to the nation, especially in the realms of education and health care.

          "Sometimes I feel as if I am crying out in the desert," the archbishop said, "when I speak to people who are discouraged, who are suffering a great deal, and who are not able to look toward the future. I ask them, nevertheless, to keep their heads up, to keep up their hope. I want to give them a reason for hope, a reason to live; that is the mission which the


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May 27, 1999       volume 10, no. 103
NEWS & VIEWS

DAILY CATHOLIC

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