Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor "Horrified" by Bombings

English Prelates Praying for London Victims

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LONDON, JULY 7, 2005 (Zenit.org).- The Catholic Church organized prayers and a Mass for the victims of the transit bombings in London, while the archbishop of Westminster prepared to rush home from Rome.

“I am horrified at the news of this terrible attack on innocent people,” said Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, archbishop of Westminster, in a statement today.

“I am returning from Rome tonight with a message from Pope Benedict in which he speaks of his deep sadness and his fervent prayers for the victims,” he said.

“I too pray for all those who have suffered in this terrible atrocity and will offer Mass tomorrow evening at 5:30 in Westminster Cathedral for the victims and their families,” added the president of the bishops’ conference of England and Wales.

Today at 5:30 p.m. a special Mass was celebrated in Westminster Cathedral, on Victoria Street. The cathedral was open “all day as usual for prayer and reflection,” announced the archdiocese.

Death toll

Archbishop Kevin McDonald of Southwark said: “The terrorist attacks in London today came as a great shock. This is something that has been feared for some time and those who have been killed or injured are very much in our prayers at this time.”

“We have been listening to the constant roar of ambulances and police sirens all morning and it is clear that the emergency services are doing all they can to assist,” he added. “These attacks are horrific and will be condemned by all right-thinking people.”

The death toll stood at 37, with 700 injured. A group calling itself the Secret Organization of al-Qaida in Europe claimed responsibility for the blasts that struck the subway and a bus, the Associated Press reported.

Archbishop Patrick Kelly of Liverpool, vice president of the bishops’ conference of England and Wales, said: “As this news is breaking, and contact with Cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Connor in Rome has not been possible, I know I speak with him as I say that I am stunned and saddened by these terrible events only 24 hours after London and the country rejoiced.” On Wednesday, London was awarded the 2012 Olympics.

Archbishop Kelly added: “May those who have died know the welcome of God into life beyond all terror and pain. May the injured and those who mourn find comfort and healing and may God sustain the emergency services.”

The prelate celebrated Mass for the victims at 7:30 pm in the Cathedral of Christ the King, in Liverpool.

Sense of shock

Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Birmingham said: “I offer my prayers for all those who have been killed and my condolences to their families and friends.”

“I also pray for all those who have been injured,” he added.

“For many years, as bishop in North London, I too traveled every day on these tubes and share the deep sense of shock and revulsion of what has happened,” the archbishop added. “May God give strength, determination and consolation, to all of us at this time.”

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