Angola Prelate Assaulted in Sacristy

Bishop Dal Corso Undeterred by Attack

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CABINDA, Angola, JULY 22, 2005 ( The bishops’ conference of Angola and São Tomé expressed indignation at the news that the apostolic administrator of Cabinda was assaulted in a sacristy.

Bishop Eugenio Dal Corso, 66, was accosted while he was preparing to celebrate Mass on Monday at Immaculate Conception Parish, reported Vatican agency Fides.

That same day the bishops’ conference held a Mass of reparation and solidarity in Luanda, and published a statement deploring the act of aggression.

Church sources told that the young men who attacked the bishop had entered the sacristy and declared: «Where there is no peace there can be no Mass.»

They beat and kicked the bishop, who fell to the floor. Later, he was taken to a hospital and treated for bruises and a sprained hand.

«The doctors wanted to keep me in the hospital,» said Bishop Dal Corso. «But I said that after medication I would prefer to return to the bishop’s house to give a sign of encouragement to the people.»

The police are investigating the assault.

Bishop Dal Corso of Saurimo, in northern Angola, arrived to the Diocese of Cabinda on July 14 to begin his work as apostolic administrator, pending the arrival of Bishop Filomeno do Nascimento Vieira Dias, newly appointed to Cabinda.

For years Cabinda, an enclave separated from the rest of the Angolan territory by Congo — has been the scene of conflicts between the Luanda army and the Front for the Liberation of Cabinda, struggling for independence from Angola. Since 1975, this conflict has left at least 30,000 dead.

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