Mgr Giovanni Innocenzo Martinelli
A bomb exploded in front of the Catholic Church of the Immaculate Conception in Benghazi on the night of 17 May, Fides reports.
"They put a bomb at the entrance of the corridor leading to the courtyard where there is the door of the church. The church, was not touched directly, but the attack is not a positive sign, " said Mgr Giovanni Innocenzo Martinelli, Apostolic Vicar of Tripoli.
Mgr Martinelli said life is becoming increasingly difficult for the the small Christian community in the capital of Cyrenaica, because of Islamic extremism.
He said: "The Church in Libya is suffering. In Benghazi the Coptic Church was hit, their chaplain was killed and now the Catholic Church... As I reported on other occasions, in Cyrenaica different religious women institutes have been forced to close their doors, in Tobruk, Derna, Beida, Barce, as well as in Benghazi. The nuns who were forced to leave, had served the population with generosity.:
Mgr Martinelli said: "But I must add that yesterday, on Pentecost Sunday, despite the attack in Benghazi, the Mass was attended by several people, mostly Libyans who wanted to show their solidarity to the priests and the few remaining nuns. Enough of this violence that makes no sense, in particular given the desire for dialogue that has always been there on our behalf."
Mgr Martinelli concluded: "But I have confidence in the good will of the Libyan people, who love us." *
* A journalist has sent us this note today: I was in Benghazi on Friday. I don't think the bomb had anything to do with the church - it was aimed at soldiers at an army checkpoint nearby.