By Simon Caldwell
Pope Francis decried the ‘barbaric attack’ on concertgoers in Manchester, adding his voice to Catholic leaders dismayed at what British officials said was the deadliest case of terrorism since 2005.
In a telegram sent to English Church officials on Pope Francis’ behalf, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state, said the Pope “was deeply saddened to learn of the injury and tragic loss of life” after a suicide bomb killed at least 22 people and injured another 59 at Manchester Arena on May 22. Many concertgoers at the Ariana Grande concert were teenagers, young adults and families.
The Islamic State (ISIS) group claimed responsibility for the attack.
The telegram said, “The Pope expresses his heartfelt solidarity with all those affected by this senseless act of violence as he commends the generous efforts of the emergency and security personnel and offers the assurance of his prayers for the injured, and for all who have died.
“Mindful in a particular way of those children and young people who have lost their lives, and of their grieving families, Pope Francis invokes God’s blessings of peace, healing and strength upon the nation.”
In Britain, Cardinal Vincent Nichols of Westminster, president of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, and other Catholic leaders offered prayers for the victims of the attacks and their families.
“My shock and dismay at the horrendous killing of young and innocent people in the Manchester Arena last night is, I know, shared by all people of goodwill,” Cardinal Nichols said in a statement on 23 May, posted on the Westminster Archdiocesan website.
“I know, too, that Catholics and many others will be praying earnestly for those who have been killed, for the bereaved and for grieving loved ones.
“We pray in support of all those working so hard in response to this tragedy – the police and security forces, hospital staff, neighbours and friends and for all the people of Manchester. May God, in his mercy, strengthen and sustain us and keep us firmly united in the face of all evil,” Cardinal Nichols said….
Let us pray for peace, alongside Pope Francis and other Church leaders, in the wake of the terrible attack in Manchester this week:
Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.
O, Divine Master, grant that I may not so
much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.