Bishop Mark Davies
The Rt Rev Mark Davies, Catholic Bishop of Shrewsbury, lead prayers in Hattersley, Cheshire, on Sunday for Fiona Bone and Nicola Hughes, the Greater Manchester Police officers who were murdered as they answered an emergency call in the area on September 18.
Speaking during his homily at the 11am Mass at the Church of St James the Great, Underwood Road, Hattersley, Bishop Davies said the double murders serve as a reminder that the service of the police stands as “our last line of defence against the savagery of the jungle”.
But he also said that their first line of defence is to be found in the moral values of families and in communities and he will remind them of the inviolable character of the Divine Commandment: “You Shall Not Kill.”
Bishop Davies encouraged the congregation by proclaiming the Christian teaching that “evil will not in the end prevail” and that “all that is good will have the final and definitive word” because of the “victory of the Cross” of Jesus Christ.
“In this faith which speaks of hope overcoming despair, of light in the midst of darkness, of eternal life in the face of cruel death we pray for these two police officers who sought to bring peace and protection to this community. May they rest forever in peace,” Bishop Davies said.
Bishop Davies said: “Today, with so many across the world we remember and hold in our prayer these two police officers together with their families and loved ones and the many colleagues who deeply mourn their loss. We feel a sense of sorrow and outrage too. We recall how what is good in the dedicated service of the community met, on our own streets, with what is evil in the hate and violence which did not hesitate to indiscriminately kill.
“The sound of gunfire and a grenade exploding in the streets of this parish, the death of two young women fulfilling their duty, tragically reminds us that the police service stands as our last line of defence against the savagery of the jungle. If our children are not to grow up accepting the murders of Tuesday as commonplace then the police and the community must stand as one in defence of human life, overcoming whatever obstacles may prevent this trust.
“The police are there to protect us, but our protection must also be found within ourselves: in the moral values on which our homes and families are built, in the strength of our community. The commandments of God, St. Augustine reminds us, were written first in our hearts before they were written on tablets of stone: they are accessible to everyone with a conscience. ‘You shall not kill’ commands us in the name of God to value every human life as sacred. May these tragic events which have left everyone horrified, never allow us to lose sight of those commandments, those moral foundations on which the peace and life of our whole society is built.”