On Monday, Bari ethnic leaders distanced themselves from critics of the newly-appointed Archbishop of Juba. The Archbishop has faced controversy since his December appointment for several reasons, including that he is not a member of the region’s predominant Bari tribe.

The group said those indigenous clergy and faithful Bari who have rejected the appointment of the new Archbishop for Juba [do] not reflect the position of the entire Bari Community or their association. This was a positive step taken by Bari ethnic leaders to make position clear from the individuals who want to use community to meet their personal interest. Although it has been a practice in South Sudan’s politics to use ethnic community to fight for positions, this should not be tolerated in the Church.

The media have also learned about the presence of the Vatican team in Juba who are supposed to discuss the crisis in the Church. This is the right move taken by the Holy See to come and listen from the faithful in South Sudan.  The faithful should not allow the vices of tribalism that has corrupted the political arena in the country to get its place in the Catholic Church which is consider universal. Catholics are guided by their traditions and the laws. Up to this end, the Vatican should demand apology from these priests who protested or still protesting against the appointment of the Archbishop because right now the faithful are divided in their thoughts and the time is right now for Vatican delegation to restore the unity among the congregation in South Sudan but not allow actions of some dissent priests to divide the faithful. 

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