Referring to what he called 'the particular tragedy of the death of an innocent man at the hands of the state', Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor has called for a thorough investigation into the circumstances surrounding the shooting by police of Jean-Charles de Menezes at Stockwell Station on 22 July. He made his remarks on Friday evening at the conclusion of a Memorial Mass at Westminster Cathedral to commemorate the life of the 27-year-old Brazilian. The Mass was timed to coincide with Menezes' funeral in his home town of Gonzaga in Minas Gerais, Brazil. Noting the apologies issued by police and the promise of an enquiry into the shooting, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor said a thorough and impartial investigation was vital. 'The family and friends of Jean Charles need to know the truth, so there can be justice, forgiveness and healing,' he said. 'Britain, too, needs to know the truth of what happened last Friday. We must learn the right lessons from the tragic death of Jean-Charles, and put in place whatever changes are necessary.' The Mass in Portuguese was led by the Brazilian chaplain in the Diocese of Westminster, Fr Federico Ribeiro, at whose church of Nossa Senhora da Aparecida Menezes was a regular parishioner. The Mass began with speeches by a cousin and a friend of Menezes. The cousin, Alessandro Alves Pereira, described his death as a 'terrible mistake' and said the family was hoping for justice. There was also a speech by the Goodwill Ambassador of the Council of Europe, Bianca Jagger. The Nicaraguan-born human rights activist likened the death of Menezes to that of Jesus Christ. Both were tradesmen, both innocent victims, and both died on a Friday in front of horrified onlookers, she said. She called for those responsible to be made accountable and quoted Pope John Paul II's call to 'overcome evil with good'. Speeches were also made by interfaith representatives - a Muslim scholar and a rabbi. At the conclusion of the Mass, a short message was read by the Archbishop of Southwark, in whose diocese Menezes lived and died. Archbishop Kevin McDonald praised the contribution of the Brazilian people to Britain and to his diocese. Source: Archbishops' House
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