A LIVERPOOL priest who toured the city's riot-torn district \Oh' Archbishop Worlock on Monday night. spoke of "horrific" scenes of devastation.
Fr Paul Thompson, Liverpool diocesan information officer. accompanied Archbishop Derek Worlock, Bishop Anthony Hitchen. Bishop David Sheppard, the Anglican Bishop of Liverpool. and the Anglican Bishop of Warrington, Bishop Michael Henshall. on a four-hour journey through Toxteth.
Their guide was a Passionist priest. Fr Austin Smith, whose • ministry, the Inner City Mission, is in the middle of the riot area. Fr Thompson described Fr Smith as the "key man of Liverpool 8". who had been constantly in touch with the situation since it began last Sunday.
-Fr Smith led us through the labyrinth of Liverpool 8," said Fr Thompson. "We spent four hours going round talking to police, kids and residents." He said that at 7.30 on Monday night there were 1.500 police in the city centre. He said it was -like an army of occupation".
At I am, Archbishop Worlock, worried about the welfare of a priest living in the worst part of the riot area, left Fr Thompson to go and visit him. The four bishops did not finish until 1.30 am Tuesday morning.
Archbishop Warlock returned from a conference in Vienna on Sunday evening. Fr Thompson said his first action was to telephone people around the area, to get a picture of what was happening.
In a joint statement issued on Monday, Archbishop Worlock and Bishop Sheppard said the immediate need was for peace and hope.
"Only in this way will it be possible to carry out the genuine search for long-term solutions to what all acknowledge are acute and complex social problems." they said.