US Bishops Condemn Church Bombing in Nigeria

Urge State Department to Intensify Support in Addressing Root Causes of Violence

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WASHINGTON, D.C., SEPT. 28, 2012 (Zenit.org).- US bishops are affirming their support for the Church in Nigeria, as another attack on a church last Sunday left an immediate death toll of two, with several dozen wounded.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, president of the US bishops' conference, and Bishop Richard Pates of Des Moines, chairman of the bishops' Committee on International Justice and Peace, addressed a note to Archbishop Ignatius Ayau Kaigama of Jos, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria.

The US prelates sent their brother bishop their condolences and support after a suicide bomber attacked St. John's Cathedral in Bauchi, in northern Nigeria. The bomber's car was stopped at the gates of the church, where he detonated explosives inside the vehicle.

The extremist group Boko Haram was blamed for the bombing, the most recent in a string of attacks against churches on Sundays.

"The suicide bombing was horrible and totally unacceptable. The perpetrators must be brought to justice," the US prelates wrote. "It is sobering to note that the deaths and injuries could have been even worse had the Church not taken security precautions after the earlier bombing of a church in Bauchi last June."

Cardinal Dolan and Bishop Pates also stated, "We know that Christians and Muslims will strive to find the courage and the love to continue building right relationships that will promote peace. We hope that the perpetrators of violence and terror will be brought to justice."

The prelates noted the steps the Church in the US is taking to support the Church in Nigeria, and affirmed they will be contacting the US State Department, "to urge them to intensify their support for Nigerian government and civil society efforts to end these senseless attacks, to address the root causes of the violence, and to rebuild the social fabric of the country."

Bishop Malachy John Goltok, 47, is the bishop of the Diocese of Bauchi.

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Full text: www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/religious-liberty/upload/dolan-pates-to-kaigama-nigeria-bombing-2012-09-25.pdf