Recalling attack on basilica, Spanish archbishop denounces terrorism

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Archbishop Manuel Urena of Zaragoza in Spain condemned terrorist attacks, regardless of their target, and recalled the bombing at the Basilica of Our Lady of the Pillar last month.

The archbishop made his comments to reporters after celebrating Mass to open the 2013-14 academic year at the Catholic University of San Antonio in Murcia.

He noted that there had always been a great sense of peace at the Basilica of Our Lady of the Pillar “because nothing had ever happened there.” That changed in October when a bomb planted inside the church exploded.

Although no one was injured, Archbishop Urena said the explosion could have caused harm. 

“And that's what is important, because when there are victims, it is people who get destroyed and that is the worst,” he said.

He added that the damage to the basilica's historical and artistic heritage was not significant, “except for the organ, not because it was damaged by the explosion but because of the cloud of dust that was created and that settled into the cracks inside.”

Repairing the organ will be very costly, he explained, “because it will need to be dismantled piece by piece. German technicians from the place where it was bought will have to come to restore it and remove the dust, but at great expense.”

“Terrorist attacks are evil, regardless of whether they are against a Church building or public or private property,” the archbishop said. The fundamental problem is “attacking an asset of national interest.”

“Imagine what the Basilica of Our Lady of the Pillar means, perhaps considered the first Marian shrine in the world. In fact, each year 11 million people come to visit it.”

This fact does not make the terrorist attack necessarily any worse, Archbishop Urena explained, because terrorist attacks are always evil no matter what their target.

“As long as man is man, there will always be problems and we will always have to confront the blind force of irrationality,” the archbishop said.

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