Pope joins in prayer for London victims

Pope Benedict XVI participated in yesterday's midday two minutes of silence for the victims of the bomb attacks in London last Thursday, according to Holy See Press Office Director Joaquin Navarro-Valls.

The Vatican Information Service reports that Navarro-valls, who is accompanying the Holy Father on his vacation at Les Combes in the Valle d'Aosta in northwest Italy, affirmed that the Pope "prayed for the victims of terrorism, for their families and, specifically, for peace. He also prayed that such acts of violence are not repeated."

After recalling how the Pope prays the Angelus every day, the spokesman added that "on this occasion he prayed for the needs of the world."

Catholic News Service says that London's bishops gathered on the steps of the city's Westminster Cathedral to observe the two minutes of silence in memory of the 52 people killed by terrorists a week earlier.

At noon local time yesterday, the tolling of Edward -- the giant cathedral bell named after St. Edward the Confessor, England's patron saint -- signaled the moment when the capital ground to a halt as Londoners remembered the victims of the July 7 suicide bomb attacks on three Underground stations and a bus.

During the prayer, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor walked forward to read a prayer and bestow his blessing on those assembled.

"Lord, we bring before you those who have been killed and wounded by acts of terror," he said, "those scarred in mind and body, those who live with loss, or with the memory of fear. Be with them in their suffering. Stand beside these victims with your gentle arm around them to support them and give them hope.

"Bless those who mourn, especially those who grieve for their children and loved ones, and comfort them in this darkest hour," he said.

"Turn the minds of those who seek their aims through terror to grasp that all life is sacred," he added.

Throughout London, train stations and airports fell silent, buses pulled off roads, taxis came to a standstill, and bustling shopping malls fell silent as people paused to turn their thoughts to the victims of the atrocities.

Later in the evening (3:00 am today Sydney time), Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor was expected to be among faith leaders at a gathering in Trafalgar Square to honor the bomb victims.

Pope joins in prayer for victims of London bombings (Vatican Information Service 14/7/05)
In London, people offer moments of silence for bombing victims (Catholic News Service 14/7/05)

Silence falls at noon today for victims of London bombings (catholicireland.net 14/7/05)
Richard J. Ounsworth O.P.: Weeds in our Field (torch.op.org 17/7/05)
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This time last week: National Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies reflects on July 7 terrorist attacks on London (Fides 13/7/05)
Religious leaders meet EU president (Independent Catholic News 14/7/05)
Two minutes' silence for bomb victims (Independent Catholic News 14/7/05)

Cardinal discusses new pope's personal side in address to journalists (Catholic News Service 13/7/05)
Cardinal McCarrick discusses new pope's personal side (The Catholic Review Online 14/7/05 - temporary url)
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15 Jul 2005