The Pope has praised Sir David Amess's years of "devoted public service" and "deep concern for the poor" in a message read at a Requiem Mass for the MP who was killed at his constituency surgery in October.
The Prime Minister and other politicians attended the service at Westminster Cathedral this morning following a private funeral in the MP's Southend-on-Sea constituency yesterday.
The service was led by the Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Vincent Nichols and the Pope's message was read by the Apostolic Nuncio to Great Britain, Archbishop Claudio Gugerotti. It called for resolve to be strengthened to "combat evil with good" and to "build a society of ever greater justice." The message conveyed the Pope's "heartfelt condolences and the assurance of his spiritual closeness to the Amess family.
"His Holiness recalls with gratitude Sir David's years of devoted public service guided by his strong Catholic faith and evidenced in his deep concern for the poor and the disadvantaged, his commitment to the defence of God's gift of life, and his efforts to foster understanding and co-operation with the Holy See in its universal mission.
"Commending Sir David's soul to the loving mercy of Jesus Christ our Saviour, the Holy Father prays that all who honour his memory will be confirmed in the resolve to reject the ways of violence, to combat evil with good, and to help build a society of ever greater justice, fraternity and solidarity."
Sir David, who was 69, was fatally stabbed during a surgery at Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea, while holding a regular meeting for constituents. He'd served as the local MP since 1997. He'd previously been MP for Basildon.
25 year old Ali Harbi Ali has been charged with Sir David's murder and also with preparing acts of terrorism. He is due to enter pleas in December.