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Adelaide Archbishop encourages 'proper' response to Bali tragedy

Adelaide's Catholic Archbishop Philip Wilson says the ratio of suffering from the Bali tragedy could be greater than the September 11 attack on America, but that Australia should prepare a "proper response" to the tragedy based on a full knowledge of the facts.

"Given the size of the Australian population, the ratio of suffering could be higher here than it was in the United States on September 11 because our population is so much smaller," he said. "This is a period of grief and shock as the full dimensions of what happened in Bali on Saturday night begin to unfold.

Archbishop Wilson on Monday contacted the Catholic Bishop of Bali Benjamin Bria to send sympathy to the Balinese community. Bishop Bria is a former American university classmate of Archbishop Wilson's.

Archbishop Wilson postponed his annual leave to celebrate a special Mass at St Francis Xavier's Cathedral on Monday. He said the difficulty and the pain experienced by those who do not know if their loves ones are alive or dead must also be remembered.

"This would be among the most terrible of experiences and they should know the thoughts of Adelaide people are with them. Our hearts go out to all who are affected by this tragedy and we stand in solidarity with them," Archbishop Wilson said.

Archdiocese of Adelaide


In Melbourne, Archbishop Denis Hart expressed solidarity with victims while condemning "the evil of this cold and calculated act of horror against innocent people".

"The correct word for the acts of horror is evil," he said. "It's not something that we happy Australians are at all used to happening to our own loved ones."

However he said that because "good has defeated evil in Jesus Christ", Christians have a "deeper hope". He argued that this precludes the need for a violent response.

"Evil is defeated with a firm solidarity," he said. "For Christians the ultimate response has already been made in Jesus Christ, our lasting peace and true hope."

Archbishop Hart will celebrate a special lunchtime Mass at St Patrick's Cathedral on Friday at 1:00 pm.

Archdiocese of Melbourne


Churches will make special efforts to honour Sunday's day of mourning for the Bali victims and urged sporting groups and retailers to do the same.

Prime Minister John Howard has not issued any formal communique on observing the day, but his office has suggested activities by which people may observe the day. They include attending a religious service, a minute's silence or dedicating an event such as a sporting fixture.

The Moderator of the Uniting Church, the Rev Alastair Macrae has written a special prayer, which will be read to all congregations.

A spokeswoman for Catholic Archbishop Denis Hart suggested retailers could dim their window displays or conduct business in a way that respected the tone of the day.

The Australian Retailers Association has not yet decided how or if it should recommend major retailers and small businesses to react.

Meanwhile, the Catholic Church is planning an inter-faith service at St Mary's Cathedral in Hobart on Sunday, in recognition of the events far reaching effects.


Churches send message of sympathy to Indonesia and Australia (Independent Catholic News)
Archbishop reminds shocked nation that good overcomes grief (15/10/02)

16 Oct 2002