He says: 'May God grant strength and enduring faith to all who are bereaved, injured and traumatised'

Cardinal Vincent Nichols has expressed his sadness at Monday night’s bombing of the Manchester Arena.

In a letter to Bishop of Salford John Arnold, the cardinal wrote: “It is with great sorrow that I heard the media reports if last night’s atrocity, in Manchester.

“May God grant strength and enduring faith to all who are bereaved, injured and traumatised. May God welcome into His merciful presence all who have died. May God turn the hearts of all who commit evil to a true understanding of His desire and intention for humanity.”

Cardinal Nichols later said in a statement:

My shock and dismay at the horrendous killing of young and innocent people in the Manchester Arena, last night, is I know, shared by all people of good will.  I know too that Catholics and many others will be praying earnestly for those who have been killed, for the bereaved and for grieving loved ones.

We pray in support of all those working so hard in response to this tragedy;  the police and security forces, hospital staff, neighbours and friends and for all the people of Manchester.  May God, in His mercy, strengthen and sustain us and keep us firmly united in the face of all evil.

The Bishop of Salford also condemned that attack, which targeted a concert by American singer Ariana Grande, in which at least 22 people died.

In a series of tweets just hours after the bombing, the bishop said:

Reactions have also been coming in from other figures in the Catholic world.

The Spanish Bishops’ Conference also sent their “prayers and solidarity with the victims” of the attack and expressed their “revulsion” at the bombing.

Catholic parliamentarian Jacob Rees-Mogg also posted an image of a crucifix to his Facebook page with the words “eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord and let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace”.

The explosion happened at 10.35pm, just after the concert had finished. Greater Manchester Police said one lone male attacker, who died in the blast, detonated an improvised explosive device.

Many of the victims are believed to be children.