Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Catholic Archbishop of Westminster, and Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, Primate of the Anglican Church, expressed amazement and deep sorrow on Friday October 15 after the same day assassination of Conservative MP David Amess, 69 years old. The politician at the time was holding parliamentary office at a Methodist church in Leigh-on-Sea, a seaside town about 62 kilometers east of London. The alleged killer is a 25-year-old British national of Somali origin.
“I pray for his family and friends, who are in shock right now. I pray for his constituents, all those who worked with him during his political career ”, wrote Cardinal Nichols in a statement released Friday, further believing that this “Horrible attack” is “An attack on our democratic process and traditions”.
A major role in the visit of Benedict XVI in 2010
The Archbishop of Westminster also recalled David Amess’ long-standing commitment as a Catholic in the political arena. In 2006, he initiated the creation of the Parliamentary Friendship Group with the Holy See, a group comprising people of different faiths and beliefs. Over the years he had led several parliamentary visits to Rome. He had also played a major role in Pope Benedict XVI’s historic visit to Parliament in 2010 and in the return visit of representatives of the parliamentary group to Rome the following year.
“This contribution (…) will be sorely missed”, said Cardinal Nichols. David Amess, who leaves behind a wife and five children, has been an uninterrupted Member of Parliament since 1983, making him one of the most senior politicians in the House of Commons. A claimed Catholic, he was also a staunch supporter of Brexit. Among the projects on which he had invested a lot was the fight against obesity, a subject on which he was the author of an important report in 2004.
“Deep faith and sense of justice”
Anglican Primate Justin Welby, for his part, said the assassination is a blow to “All those who want a peaceful and flourishing democracy”, noting that Amess was a “Fervent Roman Catholic whose deep faith fueled his sense of justice”. “We are richer in his life, and we are all poorer in his untimely death”, he added.
David Amess is the second British MP to be killed in recent times. In 2016, a week before the Brexit referendum, Labor MP Joe Cox was fatally stabbed and shot dead by an extremist in her constituency.
→ READ. UK MP Jo Cox killed while campaigning against Brexit
In 2000, in full parliamentary duty in Cheltenham, in the west of England, a man had wounded Liberal Democrat MP Nigel Jones with a saber and killed his assistant, Andrew Pennington. In 2010, Labor Stephen Timms was stabbed twice by a 21-year-old Islamist on the grounds that he voted in favor of British military intervention in Iraq in 2003.