.- Hours after a series of rush hour attacks which rocked London's transit system leaving about 40 dead, Catholic leaders from around the Britain have begun expressing their dismay and consolations over what is the Pope called a "barbaric act."
Upon hearing the news, Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Birmingham, said that "My heart goes out to everyone caught up in these outrageous attacks in London today. I offer my prayers for all those who have been killed and my condolences to their families and friends.
I also pray for all those who have been the injured.
He added that, "For many years, a Bishop in North London, I too traveled every day on these tubes and share the deep sense of shock and revulsion of what has happened.May God give strength, determination and consolation, to all of us at this time."
Archbishop Patrick Kelly, Vice President of the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales and Archbishop of Liverpool, said today that, "As this news is breaking, and contact with Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor in Rome has not been possible, I know I speak with him as I say that I am stunned and saddened by these terrible events only twenty-four hours after London and the country rejoiced [over the successful Olympic bid]."
"May those who have died", he added, "know the welcome of God into life beyond all terror and pain. May the injured and those who mourn find comfort and healing and may God sustain the emergency services."
He also announced that he would be celebrating a special Mass this evening at 7.30 pm in the Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King, Liverpool, "at which all will be welcome."
Canon Robert Corrigan, Dean of Clifton Cathedral, in Bristol, said that, "In the face of such barbarity it is essential that people of faith and good will come together to pray for the dead, the injured and all those affected in any way, but also to pray with hope that one day the hatred that leads to such violence will have no place on earth ."
Likewise, Rt. Rev Arthur Roche, Bishop of Leeds, issued a statement from Lourdes, where he is on pilgrimage saying, "I offer my prayers for all those caught up in this appalling tragedy in London and to the friends and relatives of those who have been killed."
"As someone who worked as a bishop in London," he added, "I know of the character and resilience of Londoners. This was an indiscriminate and cowardly act against ordinary people.
"At a time when the leaders of the world are meeting to plan ways to bring help to those, who are less fortunate, it is hard to understand the minds of people who can commit such an outrage. I pray to God that our belief in fairness and justice in this country will overcome such evil."
Bishop Pat O'Donoghue too, sent a letter today to the priests of the Diocese of Lancaster saying that, "In view of the horrific attack on innocent people in London on Thursday, I ask you to offer special prayers for them at all Sunday Masses. It may be an opportune time for us all to commit ourselves to some act of penance asking for God's mercy and guidance in response to such an evil act."
"Our prayers", he added, "must be for peace, justice and renewed understanding of the gift of life."