Cardinal Vincent Nichols urged people to reject racial hatred during a Mass for migrants at Westminster Cathedral on Sunday.

Following the murder of a Polish man in Harlow, Essex, the cardinal said: “I want to say today, to all who will listen, that there is no place in our society for hatred or violence against people because of their nationality or race. So today we extend our prayers especially to the Polish community, remembering the killing of one of their number in Harlow some weeks ago, and the violent attacks which followed.

“We all reject these actions and these sentiments against whoever they are aimed. They disfigure our society. They have no place here. They have no place in immigrant communities. But I must also say how reassuring it was to hear that in the aftermath of these and similar attacks, there are so many messages of support and actions of solidarity.

Cardinal Nichols went on: “We will not simply condemn, but, more importantly, build anew the welcome and the confidence that we have for and in each other.” The cardinal’s words came after he received a letter from the president of Poland, Andrzej Duda urging him to help protect Poles.

President Duda’s letter, which was also sent to the Archbishop of Canterbury, pleaded for a “constructive effort” from churches and parishes to “alleviate the adverse consequences of intolerance and xenophobia, including what appears to be a clear instance of aversion and animosity towards Poles.”

He said Poles living in Britain worked “strenuously” and were contributing to Britain’s welfare.

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