ROME – A bombing on Sunday at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Jolo, the capital of Sulu Province in the southern Philippines, left 20 people dead and 81 wounded. One of the IEDs exploded inside the church as Mass was going on, while another went off in the parking lot outside where most churchgoers had fled after the first blast.
Although there was no immediate claim of responsibility, it’s widely assumed that the Islamist terrorist organization Abu Sayyaf, or some similar faction, was behind the attack. (Editor’s Note: ISIS has since claimed responsibility for the attack but has not provided evidence to support the claim.) The pastor of the parish, Father Jefferson C. Nadua, restricted himself to calling for prayers and begged off giving any further comment, while the bishops’ conference of the Philippines urged unity in the wake of the violence.
The carnage generated immediate outrage around the world, and so far has been condemned by the Filipino government, Pope Francis, and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. Those leaders have expressed “indignation” (Yousef Al-Othaimeen, head of the OIC), the “firmest reproach” (the pope) and outrage at such a “dastardly crime” (Filipino authorities.)
The one thing absolutely no one should be, however, is surprised.
Globally speaking, Christians are by far the most persecuted religious group on the planet. Though counts vary widely, the high-end estimate for the number of new Christian martyrs every year is around 100,000, while the low end is roughly 7,000-8,000 – which works out to a range of one casualty every five minutes to one every hour.
Read more at Crux.