Cardinal Nichols called for a renewed political resolve to work for lasting peace in the region.
“In its destructive savagery, [this attack] is an act that expresses the worst and most misguided aspects of human nature,” he said. “In contrast, I wish to pay tribute to David Haines, who by his untiring service to those who suffer the ravages of war, lived a life that demonstrated all that is best in humanity. His concern for others manifested itself in his commitment to helping others, without counting the cost to himself, ultimately paying the price with his life.”
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby said: “the darkness is deepening,” telling ITV News that there is a “sick sense of horror” at the “unspeakably evil” acts of militants.
He said: “It’s been done in the name of faith but we’ve heard already today faith leaders from Islam across the world condemning this. Faith is being twisted to enable it to be used [by IS] to gain power and influence for their own unspeakably evil ends.”
The Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain, Dr Shuja Shafi, described the jihadists’ behaviour as depraved and far from Islam. “David Haines went out to the region to help the people of the region. That extremists chose to murder him only shows once again the depravity of their warped ideology.”
Meanwhile on Saturday Pope Francis again suggested a Third World War was already underway.
During a visit to Italy’s largest military cemetery, Redipuglia, near Slovenia, to commemorate the centenary of World War One, he said: “Even today, after the second failure of another world war, perhaps one can speak of a third war, one fought piecemeal, with crimes, massacres, destruction.”
World leaders are holding urgent talks in Paris today to discuss a global response to the threat posed by IS.
On Francis’ return from Korea last month he said he agreed with the view that “we are in World War III, but spread out in small pockets everywhere”.