LONDON, England (Catholic Online) - The whole world watches in disbelief as the presumed "civility" of British society continues to be interrupted by escalating riots, looting, street violence and creeping anarchy. The scene resembles something out of a bad movie. Anarchy seems to have been unleashed.   

What began in the neighborhoods of London over the weekend had spread to four other cities by Monday. Now, it seems to be escalating. Hundreds have been arrested, numerous buildings have been set on fire, widespread looting continues and at least one person is dead.

The riots were initially thought to be in reaction to questionable claims concerning the that the Police shooting of Mark Duggan, a resident of Tottenham.  On Tuesday, the Independent Police Complaints Commission found the shooting may not have been justified.

On Tuesday evening 16,000 police officers were dispatched to the Streets of London to attempt to quell the widespread opportunistic looting, escalating violence and mayhem. How much of the activity in the streets is attributable to the Duggan incident is not clear. How much of it is opportunistic violence, and just plain thievery and criminal looting is even less clear. Where it is all headed is unknown.

Duggan's family, while mourning the loss of their son, is attempting to help authorities to quell the escalating riots. They issued a statement through a representative which said, in part,  "The family want everyone to know that the disorder going on has nothing to do with finding out what has happened to Mark. They also want people to know they are deeply distressed by the disorder affecting communities across the country."

The Most Rev Vincent Nichols, the Catholic Archbishop of Westminster addressed the violence and theft in In a statement issued on Tuesday, August 9, 2011:

"The scenes of the last few nights in parts of London and elsewhere are shocking. The criminal violence and theft that have been witnessed are to be condemned. They are a callous disregard for the common good of our society and show how easily basic principles of respect and honesty are cast aside. "

"I ask that Catholics pray especially for those directly affected by the violence, for those facing danger on the streets, for those whose livelihood has been ruined, for those whose lives are marked by fear, for those whose parents are worried about the behaviour of their youngsters and for those who, at this time, are being tempted into the ways of violence and theft."

"In the face of these difficulties, a forthright common effort is needed to ensure that these times bring out the best in our society and not the worst. I am sure that, as Catholic citizens, we shall play our part with clear principles for living, both as individuals and as a society, with honesty, compassion and prayer."

"May God grant us courage and determination to shape our lives with dignity, self respect and care for the common good."