Vatican decries Christmas blast at Nigeria church

In this photo provided by the Vatican paper L'Osservatore Romano, Pope Benedict XVI delivers his "Urbi et Orbi" (to the City and to the World) speech from the central loggia of St. Peter's Basilica, at the Vatican, Sunday, Dec. 25, 2011. Benedict XVI called for an end to the bloodshed in Syria and the resumption of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks in his Christmas message Sunday, an appeal for peace that was challenged by deadly attacks on two Nigerian churches. (AP Photo/L'Osservatore Romano)

December 25, 2011 8:30:59 PM PST
The Vatican has denounced the deadly Christmas Day attacks on Nigerian churches as a sign of "cruelty and absurd, blind hatred" that shows no respect for human life.

Early Sunday, an explosion ripped through a Catholic church during Christmas Mass near Nigeria's capital of Abuja, killing a reported 25 people. A second explosion struck near a church in Nigeria's central city of Jos, while two other explosions hit the northeast state of Yobe.

There was no immediately claim of responsibility, but Nigeria has suffered several sectarian attacks blamed on the radical Muslim sect Boko Haram.

Vatican spokesman Rev. Federico Lombardi said the Catholic church was praying for all Nigerians confronting "this terrorist violence in these days that should be filled with peace and joy."