Priest in Indonesia has forgiven man who attacked him with a sword


A priest in Indonesia attacked and wounded in his church by a sword-wielding man on 11 February says he has forgiven his attacker.

Suliyono, 22, a suspected Muslim extremist, armed with a sword, entered St. Lidwina Church in Yogyakarta as the congregation was singing a hymn during Mass led by Jesuit Father Karl-Edmund Prier.

“I forgive Sulyono with sincerity. Every day I pray the Our Father prayer, which states that as we forgive those who trespass against us,” wrote 81-year-old Father Prier in a letter posted on the bishops’ commission on social communication website.

Prier said he could have run away during the assault, “However, my conscience said: ‘Do not go. The good shepherd should not run when wolves come.’ I remained standing on the altar to divert the attacker’s attention to me,” he said.

Witnesses said the attacker charged in through the main entrance of the church injuring a parishoner before heading towards the altar.

As well as Prier, three other members of the congregation and a police officer responding to the incident, were injured in the attack.

Suliyono also attacked and damaged statues of Jesus and the Virgin Mary.

In the video that went viral on social media, the attacker was seen swinging a sword in front of the altar. Some people were seen throwing rocks or chairs at him.

Police spokesman Yulianto said that Suliyono attempted to resist arrest and was shot by police in the thigh.

He also said Muslims had been very kind and helped clean up the church after the attack.

Archbishop Robertus Rubyatmoko of Semarang appealed for no acts of revenge over the attack.

“Let us just pray for the recovery of the victims and the change for the perpetrator’s life,” he said.

Anti-terrorism police are still investigating.


News category: Asia Pacific.

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