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Pope condemns bombing in Philippines

Pope Benedict XVI has condemned a bomb attack near a Catholic cathedral in the Philippines that killed at least five people,  and wounded more than 29 others on Sunday.

Speaking after the Angelus in St Peter's Square yesterday, Pope Benedict said the use of violence would never solve problems.

"Sadly, today as yesterday, this cry is incessant, because human blood continues to flow as a result of violence, injustice and hatred. When will people learn that life is sacred and belongs to God alone? When will people understand that we are all brothers?" he said.

"Christ Himself did not respond to evil with evil but with good, with his infinite love."

Archbishop Orlando Quevedo was giving the homily during  Mass at the  Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Cotobato City  when the bomb exploded. He said: "This is not just a crime, this is a sacrilege...When I heard the blast and saw smoke, I told my parishioners to stay calm and not panic."

Archbishop Quevedo appealed for prayers for the bombers, saying: “Violence does not achieve anything. Violence begets violence. Let’s all pray for the conversion of the bombers."

Later Archbishop Quevedo stressed that he did not believe the bombing was intended as an attack on the church. He said he thought it was more likely the work of a rebel terrorist group.

Cotabato City is on the main island of Mindanao, about 885 kilometres southeast of Manila.

Source: VIS/UCAN