An Appeal of the Catholic Bishops of Ethiopia and Eritea
29 April 1999
1."To all of you grace and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ." (Rom. 1:7) As spiritual fathers of the church we make our own this greetings of the apostle Paul, which reflects the deep aspiration of our hearts. A year ago, at the outbreak of military hostilities between our two sister countries of Ethiopia and Eritrea, our warning and our appeal had been: "Nothing is lost with peace. Everything can be lost with war."
2.But now the tragic consequences of the refusal of God' gift of peace are before the eyes of all people and weigh, heavily on our hearts: The plight of families broken up because of forced displacement from their homes and their villages to avoid the areas of fighting; children and civilian people killed by shelling and bombing; people deported or forced to leave their work and residence because of the accident of their place of birth; others detained in various ways.
3.The supreme sacrifice of large numbers of young men and women fallen in battle and the many wounded whose lives remain forever scared are particularly present before us, a reminder of the futility of war. God desires that all his children should enjoy to the full their lives and their youth. The silence of the dead now invokes the blessing of peace for the living.
4.The sufferings and pains brought about by violent conflicts show that the path of war is neither wise nor, useful for our countries, but only a source of sorrow and destruction stifling the legitimate expectations for development and for a better existence of our poverty-stricken peoples.
5.When the Holy Father John Paul II addressed us Bishops personally during our meeting in Rome on April 27 he said: "War brings nothing but tragedy and despair, reaping innocent victims as it destroyes lives and homes, families and peoples. I repeat with urgency what I have said so many times in the past: every alternative to war must be pursued."
6.Deeply concerned about the present conflict we ask ourselves: How do we break the vicious cycle of violence that causes so much suffering? How do we heal the wounds opened by war and build again the fraternal ties that were binding our peoples?