Pope Francis has expressed his sadness at the terrorist attack in Manchester, calling it a “senseless act of violence”.
A statement from the Vatican said: “His Holiness Pope Francis was deeply saddened to learn of the injury and tragic loss of life caused by the barbaric attack in Manchester, and he expresses his heartfelt solidarity with all those affected by this senseless act of violence.
“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.”
At least 22 people, including an eight-year-old-girl, are confirmed to have been killed on the attack after a concert by American singer Ariana Grande.
ISIS has claimed responsibility for the bombing, which is the worst attack on British soil since the bombings in London on July 7, 2005.
Cardinal Vincent Nichols, chairman of the bishops’ conference of England and Wales, also expressed his sadness. In a letter to Bishop John Arnold of Salford, the cardinal wrote: “May God grant strength and enduring faith to all who are bereaved, injured and traumatised. May God welcome into His merciful presence all who have died.”
Catholic parliamentarian Jacob Rees-Mogg posted an image of a crucifix to his Facebook page with the words “eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord and let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace”.
Tories open the way to Catholic school expansion
The Conservative Party has pledged to abolish the “unfair and ineffective” 50 per cent admissions cap that prevents the Catholic Church from opening new schools.
In its manifesto for the 2017 general election, the party specifically mentions the effect the policy has on Catholic schools, pledging instead to create new criteria for faith schools.
Currently, new faith schools can select only 50 per cent of students on the basis of religion. But canon law says Catholic schools must give priority to Catholic children.
This has effectively stopped the Church from opening new academies and free schools.
The Government promised to reverse the law last September, and has repeated the pledge in the Conservative manifesto.
The manifesto says: “We will replace the unfair and ineffective inclusivity rules that prevent the establishment of new Roman Catholic schools, instead requiring new faith schools to prove that parents of other religions and none would be prepared to send their children to that school.”
Having been unable to sell in churches for well over a year due to the pandemic, we are now inviting readers to support the Herald by investing in our future. We have been a bold and influential voice in the church since 1888, standing up for traditional Catholic culture and values.
Please join us on our 130 year mission by supporting us. We are raising £250,000 to safeguard the Herald as a world-leading voice in Catholic journalism and teaching. For more information from our chairman on contributing to the Herald Patron's Fund, click here
Make a Donation
Donors giving £500 or more will automatically become sponsor patrons of the Herald. This includes two complimentary print/digital gift subscriptions, invitations to Patron events, pilgrimages and dinners, and 6 gift subscriptions sent to priests, seminaries, Catholic schools, religious care homes and prison and university chaplaincies. Click here for more information on becoming a Patron Sponsor. Click here for more information about contributing to the Herald Patron's Fund