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Bishop: Manchester has yet to grieve over attack

Bishop John Arnold of Salford (Mazur/

The people of Manchester have yet to grieve fully for the 22 people murdered by an Islamist suicide bomber, the Bishop of Salford has said.

Public displays of resilience and defiance risked “throwing a blanket” over a deeper desire to mourn for the victims of the attack on the Manchester Arena, said Bishop John Arnold.

He said that besides the dead and 59 injured, tens of thousands of others were badly affected by the attack carried out by Salman Ramadan Abedi, a 22-year-old Manchester Muslim, at a concert by the American singer Ariana Grande.

Great sensitivity, he suggested, was needed to help people to come to terms with the enormity of the attack.

“Thousands, mainly young people, were seriously affected by being at the Arena on the night the bomb went off,” the bishop said in a homily at the annual media Mass on Thursday. There was the additional traumatic psychological impact inflicted, he said, on the classmates of children who attended the concert but who were not hurt by the blast as the shock at “one atrocious attack of terror … spread far and wide”.

Bishop Arnold continued: “One thing that became very evident very quickly indeed was the sense of resilience and a sense of defiance.

“But that was so taken up that quite possibly we missed a great deal of sensitivity that needs to be accommodated in those days.”

He said: “In our determination to show resilience and defiance I think we must have lost that sensitivity to the need to grieve.

“My worry for Manchester is that we throw a blanket over what happened and we call it resilience and defiance but there are lots of steps we need to take if we are to come through this in a positive way.”