Philippine cardinal condemns chapel bombing as ‘horrendous sacrilegious act’

Archbishop Orlando Beltran Quevedo Archbishop Orlando Beltran Quevedo | Credit: Wikimedia Commons

A Catholic cardinal condemned the grenade attack on a village chapel during a Bible service that left two wounded in the southern Philippines on Sunday.

The grenade attack happened on Pentecost Sunday at Santo Niño Chapel in Cotabato City at about 10:30 a.m.

Cotabato City is in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, known as “Bangsamoro,” an area that has experienced religious freedom challenges in recent years. 

Cardinal Orlando Quevedo, the archbishop emeritus of Cotabato, denounced the grenade attack, calling it a “dastardly bombing,” according to the news site of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines.

Of the about 20 people in attendance, the two churchgoers injured in the attack were Maribel Abis, 46, and Aniceta Tobil, a senior citizen. Initial reports revealed the attack was by two men riding a motorcycle. 

Quevedo called the attack a “horrendous sacrilegious act that cries out to heaven.”

“I call upon our security, military, and investigative forces to ferret out the perpetrators and bring them to justice,” he added.

A Philippine government official condemned the attack on Tuesday, according to a local report

“This horrendous act of violence, carried out on Pentecost Sunday, a day of religious significance for Catholics, is a direct attack on the Filipino people’s commitment to religious freedom and peaceful coexistence and blatant disregard for human life,” said chief Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation, and Unity. 

“We stand in solidarity with the Catholic community of Cotabato City and the entire Bangsamoro region during this unforeseen challenge,” he continued. “Rest assured that this act of terror, which has no other aim but to sow fear, animosity, and mistrust, will not slow down or dampen our resolve to achieving lasting peace, mutual understanding, and solidarity in the Bangsamoro.”

“Let us all work together to prevent such tragedies from happening again and to help foster a more peaceful, inclusive, and harmonious environment that respects the diverse faiths within our communities,” Galvez added.

Only about six months ago, a bombing during a Mass on Dec. 3, 2023, at the Mindanao State University in Marawi City killed four churchgoers, most of them students. The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack.

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