In the wake of the bombings that devastated the Cathedral of Jolo, claiming 21 lives and injuring dozens of Mass-goers during a Eucharistic celebration in January 27 , the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines issued a statement. This is in a bid to stop the cycle of hate that seemed to hover over some parts of Mindanao as several key cities and towns hold the plebiscite for the ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) in January 21 and February 6 respectively.
The Diocese of Butuan is one with the CBCP during these trying times:
We, Catholic Bishops gathered in our Plenary Assembly in Manila, received today the sad news from Fr. Romeo S. Saniel, OMI, Apostolic Administrator of Jolo, of the bombing of the Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Cathedral in Jolo during the Sunday Mass.
We condole with the families of the several soldiers and civilians who were killed by the explosions. We also express our sympathies with those who were wounded and extend our solidarity with the rest of the church-goers inside the Cathedral and the rest of the church community in the Apostolic Vicariate of Jolo.
At the same time, we condemn this act of terrorism that has taken place only a few days after the plebiscite on the Bangsamoro Organic Law.
As we begin a new phase in the peace process with the creation of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARRM), we ask our Christian brethren to join hands with all peace-loving Muslim and Indigenous People communities in the advocacy against violent extremism.
May all our religions of peace guide us in our quest for a brighter future for the peoples of Mindanao.
From the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines
+ Romulo G. Valles Archbishop of Davao President, CBCP January 27, 2019