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Addis Ababa – “It saddens our hearts hearing about war while we all would like to hear about peace and reconciliation”, said Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Ethiopia in a statement published at the end of their ordinary Assembly, referring to to the conflict in the Tigray region. “The horror of war is neither a remedy for wrongs nor a solution to a crisis. War brings untold suffering and the price that innocent people pay is incalculable”, the Bishops say, who launch an appeal to dialogue. “It is never too late to stop the violence, the bishops acknowledged that the only way forward, for the good of the people, is peace and reconciliation, which helps “to satisfy the demands of truth and justice, to ask for and grant forgiveness, to restore mutual trust, to recognize others as our brothers and sisters, no matter who they are and how deep our disagreements are, and to settle any differences through dialogue and negotiation”.
The many civilian victims, the displaced and the suffering of the population of the area are at the center of the attention of the Bishops’ Conference. “As Pastors, we cannot but feel the anguish and pain that the people are going through. We identify with them and their anguish is our anguish”. The Bishops thank “the many people who have been working tirelessly to alleviate the suffering of the population”, asking for continued support so that “no one is forgotten or left out”. In particular, they make a pressing appeal to the authorities on the ground to allow unfettered access to humanitarian aid.
More than 400,000 people in Tigray are suffering from hunger while about 4 million people between the States of Tigray, Amhara and Afar are in need of some form of food aid.
The assembly that was held from 13-16 July, at the Consolata Fathers Spirituality Centre, Modjo, brought together bishops from all dioceses except Bishop Tesfassilasie Medhin of Ethiopia’s Eparchy of Adigrate, which is within the war zone of Tigray.
The participants offered special prayers for Archbishop Medhin, who has not joined the assembly “for the last one year due to the war in Tigray and suffering continuously together with his people”.
They also prayed for the clergy, religious men and women and all Catholic faithful who have been passing through the war and the attached humanitarian crisis.