VATICAN CITY, OCT. 14, 2002 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II condemned the “cruel and misguided violence” of Saturday’s attack on a disco in Bali, Indonesia, which left 187 dead and more than 300 injured, and he sent a message of sympathy for the victims’ relatives.
In a telegram sent to the apostolic nuncio in Jakarta, the Vatican’s secretary of state, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, said that the Pope “has been deeply shocked by the terrible attack.”
The Pope’s message said: “Such cruel and misguided violence cannot be the path to a more just and civil society, and it must be condemned by all who aspire to a world of peace built on respect for the inviolable dignity of every human life.”
Indonesian Defense Minister Matori Djalil Abdul today blamed the al-Qaida terrorist organization for the attack on Bali, a resort island.
The preliminary lists of dead and wounded involve citizens of at least 16 nations, the most affected being Australia, with 13 confirmed dead and 110 wounded.
Archbishop Francis Carroll, president of the Australian Catholic Bishops’ Conference, said in a statement: “On behalf of the Catholic Church in Australia, I extend to all those who are grieving or anxiously awaiting news, our sympathy and the assurance of our prayers. The Church’s health and counseling services will be readily available to those who may have any need.”
“I invite Catholics to attend their local churches and participate in prayers, in solidarity with those who are suffering,” the archbishop of Canberra said. “I suggest that next Sunday be observed as a national day of prayer and remembrance.”
“There can be no place for violence in the name of religion,” he added. “More than ever, those who have faith in God must build bridges of peace. All who believe that they are children of God must acknowledge those around us as sisters and brothers in the one human family. Australia is uniquely placed to show the world that diverse cultures and religions can peacefully co-exist.”
He added: “There is a right to defend innocent people against terrorism. The right must be exercised within moral and legal limits. Violence does not have to be met with more violence. Respect, understanding and dialogue prepare the way for peace built on justice.”