Cardinal Addresses 'London United' Rally in Trafalgar Square
posted on 15 July 2005
London's Catholic bishops yesterday gathered at midday on the steps of Westminster Cathedral to observe two minutes of silence in memory of the 53 people killed by terrorist blasts.
In the evening, Cardinal Cormac Muprhy-O'Connor joined civic and faith leaders in Trafalgar Square for a mass vigil praising the capital's resilience and diversity. The Cardinal [SEE TEXT BELOW] told the crowd that 'the law of history is not the side of the terrorists'.
At noon, the tolling of Edward -- the giant cathedral bell named after St. Edward the Confessor, England's patron saint -- marked the moment when the capital ground to a halt as Londoners remembered the victims of the 7 July suicide bomb attacks on three Underground stations and a bus.
A crowd of about 3,000 people assembled on the square outside the cathedral, to hear the words of the Lord Mayor of Westminster, Tim Joiner, and a prayer read by Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor. Alongside them stood the Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Faustino Sainz Munoz, and three auxiliary bishops of Westminster: George Stack, Alan Hopes and Bernard Longley.
The bell tolled again to mark the end of the tribute. Tim Joiner, lord mayor of Westminster, addressed the crowd from the steps of the cathedral.
'Last Thursday London woke up united in celebration at the success of winning the 2012 Olympic bid,' he said.
'By midmorning we were united in grief, mourning the loss of so many lives in a murderous assault on our city. Today we are united in honoring the memory of those who died, by our silence. We are united in sympathy for the seriously injured, whose lives have been blighted, and we are united in condemning the actions of those who caused this carnage,' he said.
Joiner said people of 'all faiths and none' also were united in their determination to 'preserve a free and democratic way of life.'
Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor then walked forward to read a prayer and bestow his blessing on those assembled.
'Lord, we bring before you those who have been killed and wounded by acts of terror,' he said, '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,' he said.
'Turn the minds of those who seek their aims through terror to grasp that all life is sacred,' he added.
Throughout London, train stations and airports fell silent, buses pulled off roads, taxis came to a standstill, and bustling shopping malls fell silent as people paused to turn their thoughts to the victims of the atrocities.
Later, standing with Anglican, Jewish, Sikh and Hindu leaders, Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor told thousands more people at an evening vigil in Trafalgar Square that evil had 'erupted at the heart of our city.'
The cardinal said that when confronted with evil, 'we must cling with greater determination to what is good. We must be compassionate and above all patient, because it is not we, but God, who is in charge of history. The law of history is not on the side of the terrorists.
'God may be mocked by acts of hate, but he is never defeated or reduced. God was there, among us, long before the terrorists struck; God was there, last week, tending to the wounded and mourning the dead; God is here today, long after the terrorists have fled,' he said.
Earlier, in Les Combes, Italy, where Pope Benedict XVI began his vacation July 11, the pontiff also observed the two-minute silence. The pope also offered special prayers during his daily recitation of the Angelus at noon, said Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls.
'The pope prayed for the victims of terrorism and for their families and, especially, for peace,' his spokesman told reporters in Les Combes.
'He also prayed that such acts of violence would not be repeated,' the spokesman said.
Police initially said the four bombers involved in the explosions were all English-born Muslims. However, they later announced that they believe the fourth bomber was Jamaican-born Lindsey Germaine, who lived in Aylesbury, England. The other three were Mohammad Sidique Khan, 30, Hasib Mir Hussain, 18, and Shehzad Tanweer, 22, all of Leeds.
According to reports in the British press, police are hunting at least two other key suspects. One is a Pakistani al-Qaida operative said to have entered the country on false papers two weeks before the attacks; he left Britain 24 hours before the bombings were carried out. The other is an Egyptian who fled his Leeds home.
A relative of one of the suspects was arrested July 12 and remains in police custody.
Cardinal Cormac Murphy-OíConnor address in Trafalgar Square
Evil has erupted at the heart of our city, at a moment when we are most vulnerable. The knowledge that vulnerability and innocence can be exploited by evil can lead us to wish to be invulnerable.
But it is precisely when we are confronted with evil that we must cling with greater determination to what is good. We must be compassionate and above all patient, because it is not we, but God, who is in charge of history.
The law of history is not on the side of the terrorists. Violence, as we know, breeds violence, and violence ultimately destroys itself. If we stand firm, if we believe in peace, then terror will not succeed; it will exhaust itself in time.
Last Thursday brought havoc and tragedy and pain to the streets of London. But evil also summons forth good. Almost as soon as the wounds appeared , there was healing: in the efficiency and care shown by the emergency services, in the calm response of Londonís commuters, in the way that Londoners put their arms around each other, and nursed each other. In these countless small acts, terrorism was defeated.
God may be mocked by acts of hate, but he is never defeated or reduced. God was there, among us, long before the terrorists struck; God was there, last week, tending to the wounded, and mourning the dead; God is here today, long after the terrorists have fled.
And because God was there, holding us, as always, in his hands, cradling us, we showed we could not be corroded. We showed that we are made according to Godís design, and that no amount of terror, however suddenly and brutally it strikes, can wipe that away.
That is why, when we remember those who died last week, and their relatives, we do so not with anger, not with bitterness, but with love and gratitude.
So I pray with you:
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.