The funeral of murdered Catholic MP Sir David Amess will take place in Westminster Cathedral next month, it has been confirmed.
A Requiem Mass will be celebrated in the London cathedral, which is just a short walk from the Houses of Parliament, from 10.30am on Tuesday November 23.
The chief celebrant will be Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the Archbishop of Westminster the president of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales.
The details of the funeral were confirmed to MPs, peers and parliamentary staff who attended Catholic services in Parliament.
Sir David, the Conservative MP for Southend West, was stabbed to death while holding a surgery for constituents in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, on October 15.
Police have since charged Ali Harbi Ali, a 25-year-old British Muslim of Somali origin, of murder and he is likely to stand trial in March next year.
The Crown Prosecution Service and the police are treating the killing of the 69-year-old MP as an act of terrorism.
The murder provoked a wave of national grief but also anger among many Catholics when it was revealed that police refused to allow Fr Jeffrey Woolnough, his parish priest, to administer the final sacraments of the Church while he lay dying.
It prompted Mike Kane, the Labour MP for Wythenshawe and Sale East, and a Catholic, to propose an “Amess amendment” to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill to permit priests to have access to Catholics “in the final moments of life” or to pray alongside them shortly after they have died.
According to media reports, some peers are prepared to table the amendment at Committee Stage in the House of Lords.
“I think it’s vital that people of faith can receive the ministry and sacraments they need in the final moments of life and at the point of death,” Mr Kane told the BBC.
“There should be a presumption by the authorities whether it be a care home or a crime scene that pastors can tend to the spiritual needs of the individual concerned.”
The idea was supported by Bishop Mark Davies of Shrewsbury who expressed the view that last rites should be considered an “emergency service”.
Bishop Davies said: “”Every Catholic Christian hopes to receive the Sacraments and be accompanied by the prayer of the Church in the final crisis of our lives.
“Every believing Catholic desires to hear Christ’s words of pardon and absolution for the last time; to be strengthened by the grace of anointing; accompanied by the assurance of the Church’s prayer and whenever possible to receive Holy Communion.
“This is something well understood in hospitals and care homes yet the events following the murderous assault on Sir David Amess suggest this is not always comprehended in emergency situations.
“I hope a better understanding of the eternal significance of the hour of death for Christians and the Church’s ministry as an ‘emergency service’ may result from this terrible tragedy.”
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