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Catholic Leaders Around the World Lament Attacks on New Zealand Mosques

Catholic Leaders around the world have reacted March 15, 2019, with outrage at the attack on two New Zealand mosques, calling for prayers for the victims and their families. At least 49 were killed and dozens injured in the attacks.

Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster and President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales: “The news of the massacre in the New Zealand mosques is deeply shocking and has caused us all great pain. We pray for the many victims, for the wounded and for the whole community, which has been severely affected by this act of terrorism. May God free us from these tragedies and sustain the efforts of all those who work for peace, harmony, and coexistence.”

Bishop Kevin Doran of Elphin, Ireland: “I am deeply saddened at this morning’s news of a savage attack on two Muslim communities at prayer in New Zealand. All of us, of whatever religious tradition, can identify with what that might mean for a congregation gathered for worship.

“Responsibility for these attacks clearly rests with some violent individuals. At another level, however, there are serious questions to be answered, including in our own society, by those who unjustly blame the entire Muslim community for the extremism of some. It is just as unacceptable to speak and write in racist or sectarian terms against Muslims as it is to speak and write in similar terms about Christians.

“May the merciful God gather to himself all who have died while at their Friday prayers and console those who have been hurt. I ask that they be remembered in our Churches this weekend.”

The Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies in New Zealand, the Verbite, Fr. Bernardo Epiritu, commented in a conversation reported by Fides News Agency: “We are shocked because our nation practices peaceful coexistence between different cultures and religions. Evidently, some extreme-right groups carry seeds of Islamophobia, or of ‘white supremacy’. But I can say that in society, among ordinary people, there are no anti-racist or anti-Muslim sentiments. The attack is an execrable act, completely unexpected, this is what hurts us. In our society, there is currently a mixture of cultures and ethnicities, for immigration, a historical and current phenomenon. Even the Catholic Church is revitalizing herself thanks to the contribution of Catholic immigrants coming from Asian countries and also from South America. In general, the sense of acceptance towards refugees and immigrants is widespread, without discrimination on a religious basis. As a Catholic community, we can contribute to promoting peace, tolerance, coexistence, so that the poisons of hatred and fear do not allow other innocent blood to flow”.

Jim Fair


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