By Nirmala Carvalho
MUMBAI, India (Crux) — A suicide bombing at the Catholic cathedral in Makassar “shocked everybody in Indonesia, not only Catholics,” according to the country’s top prelate.
Cardinal Ignatius Suharyo Hardjoatmodjo of Jakarta told Crux he “thanked God” only two people died, and they were the suicide bombers.
Officials said on Monday a recently married couple with suspected militant links used pressure cooker bombs to blow themselves up outside the cathedral during Palm Sunday Mass.
The attack wounded 20 people, including four church guards, and broke windows at the church and nearby buildings in Makassar, the capital of South Sulawesi province.
The couple were married six months ago, and detonated their bombs when they were confronted by guards outside the church.
The couple were believed to have been members of Jemaah Anshorut Daulah, which has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group and carried out a series of suicide bombings in Indonesia.
Makassar is about a two-hour flight from Jakarta, Indonesia’s capital.
Cardinal Suharyo Hardjoatmodjo praised the response from the nation’s leaders after the attack.
“Words of sympathy came from our president, minister of religious affairs, leaders of all religious communities — all of them condemned the brutal violence,” the cardinal said.
Their statement is very clear: The suicide bomb is not only an attack against Catholics, but against our country and even humanity. No religion in the world teaches violence. On the same day — in the evening — the head of national police together with the military chief commander visited the place, met with the Archbishop of Makassar and gave the assurance that everything is under control,” Cardinal Suharyo Hardjoatmodjo said.
The cardinal said the “most comforting words” came from Pope Francis, who prayed for the victims of the attack during the Sunday Angelus.
“As commonly happens among Indonesians, every time Pope Francis gives attention or prays for Indonesia, its video in a short time is spread all over Indonesia,” he added.
“After the suicide bomb the government has assured us Catholics and Christians in general that Holy Week services can be carried out as planned — with security guarantees from the government. We all pray that we can celebrate this Holy Week peacefully and that all Indonesian — not only Catholics — experience the peace Jesus Christ brings us,” he told Crux.