Cathedral bells toll as Cardinal prays for bomb victims
posted on 14 July 2005
Standing sombrely on the doorstep of Westminster Cathedral, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor led prayers today for the victims of last week’s terror attacks, asking God to comfort their relatives.
Joining him in the sun-struck piazza, where thousands gathered to keep a two-minute silence, was the Lord Mayor of Westminster, Tim Joiner, and the Apostolic Nuncio to Great Britain, Archbishop Faustino Sainz Munoz.
As the cathedral bells tolled, Mgr Mark Langham, the Cathedral Administrator, asked the assembled crowd to observe the silence. Afterwards, the Lord Mayor gave an address and the Archbishop of Westminster said the following prayer:
Lord, we bring before you
Those who have been killed and wounded by acts of terror,
Those scarred in mind and body,
Those who live with loss,
Or with the memory of fear.
Be with them in their suffering.
Stand beside these victims
With your gentle arm around them
To support them and give them hope.
Bless those who mourn,
Especially those who grieve
For their children and loved ones;
And comfort them in this darkest hour.
Renew our resolve
That goodness will prevail,
And our determination to preserve
All that we hold precious.
Turn the minds of those
Who seek their aims through terror
To grasp that all life is sacred.
The Cardinal will join other faith and community leaders at 6pm in Trafalgar Square this afternoon in commemorating the victims of last week’s bombings.
The Vigil is being organised by the Mayor of London in conjunction with the TUC.
Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor has been reacting to the revelation that last week’s atrocities had been committed by British suicide bombers. He said the news was “extremely alarming”, and called for Muslim leaders to be supported to isolate extremist elements in their communities.
He said the country was banding together against violence. “Already the people of this country feel more united because of this atrocity,” he told Simon Mayo during an hour-long phone-in programme on BBC Radio Five Live.
He also spoke of the unity with Londoners he felt while travelling on the Bakerloo and Victoria lines yesterday.
“There was I, with other Londoners, and a bit of me felt I was glad to be with other Londoners continuing my work just as they are continuing theirs, and aware that something terrible happened on the Underground a week ago, but saying we are not going to be deterred by it.”
He went on:
“There is no doubt that what happened a week ago, carried out by suicide bombers from within our own communities, is extremely alarming. It’s only right that all of us should be aware of this, and be wary, but also determined not to let it distract us from our normal lives.”
Other comments by the Cardinal from the radio show:
1. “We have to say, as church leaders, that God allows these terrible things to happen, but that he is a loving God, and we have to put our trust in him.”
2. “We share a common humanity. To those who agonise at a time like this, waiting for news of their relatives, I want them to know of my understanding, and prayers that God will console them”.
3. “It’s valuable for national leaders of the different faiths to speak together and express what they have done – their horror at the atrocity, and their determination that violence will not prevail. There are also leaders in local communities, in the cities and towns of our country, that faith leaders should meet, so that local communities can be aware of their abhorrence of this violence. Muslim leaders will be urged to root out the extremist elements in their community.”
4. “There must not be a reaction against the Muslim community in this country. The vast majority want to be good citizens and lead peaceful lives. They must not be blamed or ostracised in any way.”
5. “The Christian creed, at its heart, is a revelation of a God of justice and mercy, a God who seeks peace and reconciliation. Muslims also believe in a God who is almighty and merciful, and does not exhort people to commit murder.”