Australian Catholic Bishops Conference president Archbishop Mark Coleridge has expressed shock at Easter Sunday attacks in Sri Lanka that have left hundreds dead. Source: ACBC.
“Attacks such as this are always atrocious,” he said, “but especially when worshippers are the target and it’s the Resurrection they’re celebrating.
“We don’t know who planned the attack or what their motive may have been. But we do know that whoever’s responsible, this attack has something demonic about its planning and execution. We also know that violence like this won’t have the last word. That’s what Easter is about.”
The death toll from the attacks on two Catholic churches, an evangelical church and luxury hotels across Sri Lanka had last night risen significantly to 290, with around 500 people injured, ABC News reports. Prime Minister Scott Morrison yesterday confirmed that two Australians were also killed.
Archbishop Coleridge said he will contact Church leaders in Sri Lanka as soon as possible and extend the sympathies and prayers of the Church in Australia.
He also expressed solidarity with the more than 22,000 Sri Lankan Catholics who now call Australia home, saying that the Catholic community in this country will rally around them in every way possible.
Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, the Archbishop of Colombo, said it is “a very, very sad day for all of us”, Vatican News reports.
“I condemn – to the utmost of my capacity – this act that has caused so much death and suffering to the people,” Cardinal Ranjith said. He called on Sri Lanka’s government to hold “a very impartial, strong inquiry and find out who is responsible behind these acts”.
Pope Francis also expressed words of solidarity at the conclusion of his Easter Urbi et Orbi address to the faithful in St Peter’s Square on Sunday.
“I wish to express my heartfelt closeness to the Christian community [of Sri Lanka], wounded as it was gathered in prayer, and to all the victims of such cruel violence.
“I entrust to the Lord all those who have tragically perished,” he said, “and I pray for the injured and all those who suffer as a result of this tragic event.”
Statement on Sri Lanka (ACBC)
Pope Francis laments Easter Sunday attacks in Sri Lanka (Vatican News)
Joint statement after Sri Lanka Bombings (Townsville Diocese)
Perth’s Sri Lankan community unites in prayer after bombings (The West Australian)