VATICAN CITY — At the end of Mass on Pentecost Sunday, Pope Francis prayed for the victims of the London Bridge terrorist attack.
“May the Holy Spirit grant peace to the whole world,” the Pope said after Mass, before praying the Regina Caeli.
“May he heal the wounds of war and of terrorism, which even this (Saturday) night, in London, struck innocent civilians: Let us pray for the victims and their families.”
Seven people were killed and 48 others injured June 3, when three men drove a van into a crowd of people on London Bridge around 10pm local time. The men then went on a stabbing spree in nearby Borough Market, where people were enjoying a Saturday night out at restaurants and pubs.
The three men reportedly shouted, “This is for Allah” during the attack. The three attackers were shot dead by police within eight minutes of the first emergency call.
According to police, 12 more people have been arrested in connection to the attacks.
It is the third terror attack in the U.K. in three months, after another car and knife attack in Westminster in March, which left five people dead, and the Manchester bombing at a concert less than two weeks ago, in which 22 people were killed.
In a statement on Sunday, U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May promised to crack down on terrorism in the face of the recent attacks.
“(W)e believe we are experiencing a new trend in the threat we face, as terrorism breeds terrorism, and perpetrators are inspired to attack ... by copying one another and often using the crudest of means of attack,” May said.
“We cannot and must not pretend that things can continue as they are,” she added.
May noted that the recent attacks were connected by one common theme: “They are bound together by Islamistic extremism that preaches hatred, sews division and promotes sectarianism. It is an ideology that is a perversion of Islam and a perversion of truth.”
She added, “It will only be defeated when we turn people’s minds away from this violence and make them understand that our values — pluralistic, British values — are superior to anything offered by the preachers and supporters of hate.”
May also said that the internet must be regulated against terrorism and that “extremism” must be stamped out, both in the private and public sector.
“It is time to say enough is enough.”
U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted his support, saying, “Whatever the United States can do to help out in London and the U. K., we will be there - WE ARE WITH YOU. GOD BLESS!”
Catholic cardinals and bishops throughout the world are offering their prayers, too.
Cardinal Vincent Nichols, archbishop of Westminster and president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, said on Twitter that the victims of the attack were in his prayers.
— Cardinal Nichols (@CardinalNichols) June 3, 2017
Cardinal Wilfrid Fox Napier, archbishop of Durban, South Africa, responded to Cardinal Nichols’ tweet with his prayers and condolences.
Cardinal Vincent, please accept my sincere sympathies for all affected by recent acts of terror in London & Manchester!
— Cardinal Napier (@CardinalNapier) June 4, 2017
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops also offered their prayers and condolences to the victims and their families in a statement released Sunday.
“The vigil of Pentecost had barely begun when the world was burdened yet again, this time by the sinister attacks on innocent men and women in the heart of London,” Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, president of the USCCB, said in the statement.
“In such tragic hours, we implore the Holy Spirit to pour out his gift of comfort on those who grieve the loss of loved ones and on the dozens who were so tragically injured in this horrible attack.”
“At the same time,” he added, “we see in the courage of the first responders the true and courageous spirit of our brothers and sisters, the people of Great Britain. May God grant strength, wisdom and protection to the men and women who safeguard our families and may he convert the hearts of all who follow the path of evil extremism. Our solidarity in Christian hope and commitment to peace is a bond that cannot be broken.”
“Together with my brother bishops and with Catholics throughout the United States, we join the prayerful intercession made already by Pope Francis: ‘May the Holy Spirit grant peace to the whole world. May he heal the wounds of war and of terrorism, which even this (Saturday) night, in London, struck innocent civilians: Let us pray for the victims and their families.’”
Many dioceses and churches also offered their prayers and condolences over social media.
— DC Archdiocese (@WashArchdiocese) June 4, 2017