IMAGE: CNS photo/Toby Melville, Reuters
LONDON (CNS) — Cardinal Vincent
Nichols of Westminster, whose cathedral is just a short walk from the scene of
the London terrorist attack, called for prayers for the dead and wounded.
“Yesterday’s attacks in
Westminster have shocked us all,” he said in a March 23 statement. “The
kind of violence we have seen all too often in other places has again brought
horror and killing to this city.”
The five fatalities included
Aysha Frade, a 43-year-old Catholic mother mowed down by a car driven by the assailant as he sped over Westminster Bridge toward the British
Parliament. Frade was on her way to pick up her children from school when she
After crashing the vehicle into
railings, the British-born Muslim ran into New Palace Yard, near Parliament,
where he fatally stabbed a police officer before he was killed by police. About
40 people were injured in the attack.
“Pray for Aysha Frade,
killed by the car on Westminster Bridge,” Cardinal Nichols said, adding
that her two children attended St. Mary of the Angels Primary School, a
Catholic school in West London.
“Pray for them and for
their father. And please remember the young French students who have been
“We remember, too, all who
have been injured, and those who care for them,” the cardinal continued. “We
pray in particular as well for Keith Palmer, the police officer who died, and
for his family, thanking God that so many show such brave dedication to keeping
our society safe.”
The cardinal urged people to
make their voices become “one of prayer, of compassionate solidarity, and
of calm,” he said. “All who believe in God, creator and father of
every person, will echo this voice, for faith in God is not a problem to be
solved, but a strength and a foundation on which depend.”
Pope Francis sent a message to
Cardinal Nichols March 23, assuring the president of the Bishops’ Conference of
England and Wales of his prayer for the nation.
Communicated via Cardinal Pietro
Parolin, Vatican secretary of state, the message said: “Deeply saddened to
learn of the loss of life and of the injuries caused by the attack in central
London, His Holiness Pope Francis expresses his prayerful solidarity with all
those affected by this tragedy.
“Commending those who have
died to the loving mercy of almighty God, His Holiness invokes divine strength
and peace upon their grieving families, and he assures the nation of his
prayers at this time,” it said.
According to reports in the
British media, the “lone wolf” assailant was not on a security
services list of about 3,000 people thought capable of mounting an attack, but
was described by Prime Minister Theresa May as a “peripheral figure.” He was named as Khalid Masood, 52, a petty
criminal from the Birmingham area of the English Midlands.
The Islamic State group issued a
statement March 23 describing the attacker as a “soldier” who had
answered its call to attack “coalition countries.”
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