Pope appeals for peace, dialogue in Sudan

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Pope Francis on Sunday appealed for peace in Sudan following a bloody crackdown by security forces on pro-democracy protesters in Khartoum last week.

“The news coming from Sudan is giving rise to pain and concern. We pray for these people, so that the violence ceases and the common good is sought in the dialogue,” the pope said in his weekly address to crowds in St Peter’s Square.

Opposition medics say 113 people were killed in this week’s violence in the Sudanese capital, while the government has put the death toll at 61, including three members of the security services.

Sudan’s main alliance of opposition groups and protesters have urged workers and employees to stay home on Sunday, launching what it called a campaign of civil disobedience to force military rulers to hand over power to civilians.

In a related development, the pope lamented what he calls today’s “culture of insults” in the world.

In his homily during Pentecost Mass Sunday in St. Peter’s Square, Francis also decried that “the more we use social media, the less social we are becoming.”

He warned of the temptation to cling to “our little group, to the things and people we like,” saying it’s only a “small step from a nest to a sect, even within the church.”

The pope said that “nowadays it is fashionable to hurl adjectives” in what’s tantamount to “a culture of insults.” He recommended responding to “to malice with goodness.”

Francis also said the Catholic Church risks becoming a mere organisation with propaganda as its mission instead of a mission to foster joy and harmony.

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