In a message the Pope said he invoked 'divine strength and peace' upon families who were grieving

Pope Francis has said he is “deeply saddened” by the attack in Westminster yesterday and has expressed “prayerful solidarity with all those affected by the tragedy”.

His comments came in a message from Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican Secretary of State, to Mgr Matteo De Mori, charge d’affaires at the apostolic nunciature in London, which was then passed on to Cardinal Vincent Nichols.

The message said: “Deeply saddened to learn of the loss of life and of the injuries caused by the attack in central London, His Holiness Pope Francis expresses his prayerful solidarity with all those affected by this tragedy.

“Commending those who have died to the loving mercy of Almighty God, His Holiness invokes divine strength and peace upon their grieving families, and he assures the nation of his prayers at this time.”

In his note to Cardinal Nichols, Mgr Mori added: “I avail of this opportunity to assure you of my own deep sympathy and prayers at this difficult time.”