Currents News Staff
The retreat was an idea of the leader of the Anglican Church, Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby. He was also present at the retreat with the two leaders in conflict. The pope offered his house, Santa Marta, as the venue for this meeting which sought to go beyond a purely diplomatic dimension.
Without breaking with the atmosphere of recollection, Pope Francis took the floor. He recalled that the first duty of a ruler is to protect peace.
“Dear brothers and sisters, let us not forget that God has entrusted to us, as political and religious leaders, the task of being guides for His people,” said Francis.
He regretfully admitted before the politicians that those who have suffered the most from the civil war are the people. Since 2013, it has been devastating the youngest nation in the world. Therefore, he insisted that peace is still possible. To reach it, he welcomed forgiveness and overcoming differences.
The meeting ended with a prayer. Then the pope spoke off the cuff with words addressed directly to the two leaders responsible for the war.
“I ask you as a brother: keep the peace,” he said.
In an unforeseen gesture, Pope Francis approached Salva Kiir, Reik Machar and the vice presidents of the country and kissed all of their feet.