I am looking at some stories on CWN.
A bomb exploded during Christmas Mass in a chapel on the island of Jolo, injuring 11. “I was reading the Gospel,” said Father Romeo Villanueva. “I was not yet finished when there was a loud explosion.” The Islamic separatist group Abu Sayyaf is suspected in the attack, which was condemned by the mainstream Muslim National Ulama Conference.
Armed men attacked two Protestant churches in Nigeria on Christmas Eve, killing a pastor and setting fire to one of the churches. The churches were located in Maiduguri, a northeastern city that serves as the headquarters of the Islamist group Boko Haram.
In the central Nigerian city of Jos, four bombs exploded, two in a market filled with Christmas Eve shoppers, and one in a Christian area of the city.
At least 38 died in the church attacks and bombings.
At least 38 people died in Christmas Eve attacks across Nigeria, including the six killed at churches in the country’s north by suspected members of a radical Muslim sect. In central Nigeria, 32 died in a series of bomb blasts in the worst violence to hit the region in months.
As Christians in Iraq observed a quiet Christmas, foregoing decorations and midnight liturgical celebrations for fear of new violence, Archbishop Louis Sako of Kirkuk insisted that the Christian presence in Iraq will continue.
I think we know who did what to whom in Baghdad.
Unsuccessful in their efforts to roll back a decision by local official banning Christmas Mass in the local parish church, Indonesian Catholics in the Bogor region of West Java held their Eucharistic celebration in the parking lot outside a school.
The parish church had been declared inappropriate for worship services because Catholics had been unable to obtain a permit for the building. Local officials were under heavy pressure from Islamic militants to keep the building closed.
Sts. Nunilo and Alodia, pray for us.
CNS has this:
VATICAN CITY – Pope Benedict XVI today condemned a series of deadly attacks against Christian churches and other targets around the world at Christmas time.
The pope appealed for peace after bombs went off in churches in the Philippines and Nigeria, killing or wounding several worshipers. In Pakistan, a suicide bombing against a World Food Program depot left at least 40 dead.
Here is a CNS translation of the pope’s appeal:
At this time of holy Christmas, the desire and the pleas for peace have become still more intense. But our world continues to be marked by violence, especially against the disciples of Christ. I learned with great sadness of the attack on a Catholic church in the Philippines, during the celebration of the Christmas Day liturgy, as well as attacks against Christian churches in Nigeria. The earth has also been stained with blood in other parts of the world, like Pakistan. I wish to express my heartfelt condolences for the victims of this absurd violence. Once again I make an appeal to abandon the path of hatred in order to find peaceful solutions to conflicts and bring security and tranquility to these dear populations. On the day in which we celebrate the feast of the Holy Family, who lived the dramatic experience of having to flee into Egypt because of the homicidal fury of Herod, let us remember all those, in particular families, who are forced to abandon their homes because of war, violence and intolerance. I invite you, therefore, to join me in praying fervently that the Lord may touch people’s hearts and bring hope, reconciliation and peace.