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Christmas bombings in Nigeria provoke anger in young people


VATICAN CITY (CNS):  Pope Benedict XVI appealed for an end to violence in Nigeria, condemning the Christmas church bombings that led to the deaths of at least 39 people. 

Following the Angelus in St. Peter’s Square on December 26, he said that the celebration of Christmas leads people to pray in an even stronger way that God will “stop the hands of the violent who sow death and that justice and peace would reign in the world.” 

A group called Boko Haram, which has been promoting the adoption of Islamic Sharia law across Nigeria, claimed responsibility for the bombings. News reports said at least 35 people died at St. Theresa Catholic Church in Madalla, just outside the capital,  Abuja. Other deadly bombs were set off at the Mountain of Fire and Miracles Church in Jos, and at police stations in three other cities. 

Pope Benedict told the people gathered in the square that he was deeply saddened by the news of the Christmas bombings and he offered his prayers “to all those who have been stricken by this absurd gesture.” 

He said, “Once again I want to repeat: Violence is a path that leads only to pain, destruction and death; respect, reconciliation and love are the paths to peace.” 

Archbishop John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan, of Abuja, told Vatican Radio that most Christians in Nigeria simply do not understand the reason for the bombings, but many young people are angry. 

“We have tried to calm them down,” he said, but Church leaders also have told the government that the only way bring stability is to “identify and eliminate the dens of these terrorist groups.”......


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