Nigeria: Vatican Assesses Damage At Bombed Jos Church

Pope Benedict XVI has sent an official of the Vatican, Cardinal Jean louise Tauran, to assess the damage of the bomb blast on St. Finbarr’s Catholic Church in Jos, and gauge how the recent violence in Nigeria has affected the relationship between Christians and Muslims in the country.

The representative of the Pope, who in arrived Jos Friday, said the Vatican is interested in seeking ways of ending the violence in the country.

Tauran, who is the president of the pontifical council for inter-religious dialogue in the Vatican was taken round the church and other scenes of violence by the Archbishop of Jos Diocese, Most Rev. Ignatius Kaigama and other senior members of the Catholic Church in Jos.

He also met with both Christian and Muslim leaders in Jos with a view to finding a solution to the inter religious conflicts in Jos, and how adherents of the two major religions can live together in peace.

Those that attended the meeting include; Plateau State Chairman of CAN, Rev. Philip Dafes, the Chief Imam of Jos Central Mosque, Sheik Dawud, Anglican Bishop of Jos, Benjamin Kwashi, and representatives of Christian and Muslims youths, non-governmental, faith-based and women organizations.

At the meeting, the cardinal said he was in Jos to learn about the problems affecting inter religious harmony, sympathize with those affected in the conflict and to tell everyone that it is possible to live in harmony.

He said from what he has seen so far, adherents of the two major religions in Nigeria can live harmoniously with one another if they take time to study and understand each other’s differences and what they have in common.

“If anybody professes a religion other than my own, I think I should be able to understand and appreciate his religion and he, in turn, should be able to appreciate and understand me and what my religion represents. I think this is the basis of human existence,” he stated. [more]