At a Mass to mourn the deaths of New York police officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu, Cardinal Timothy Dolan Sunday called for unity and calm to prevail even as he described the deaths as a "brutal and irrational execution."
The Mass was led by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner Bill Bratton to mark the deaths of the two uniformed officers, who were shot Saturday in what investigators believe was an attempt to avenge the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown, the New York Daily News
"As we mourn the brutal and irrational execution of two young, promising, devoted police officers, Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu, as we tear up thinking about their heartbroken families, as we are in solidarity with our police officers, who themselves experienced a death in the family.
"And, yes, as we worry about a city tempted to tension and division, good news this morning might seem distant, difficult, even somewhat indiscreet," Dolan said.
The Mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral opened with the hymn, "Oh Come, Oh Come Emmanuel."
Dolan repeatedly called for unity.
"We pray for our city," he said, according to the Daily News. "Might unity and calm, reason and civility prevail as it has for us so often in the past.
The weekend was marked with a new round of tension between civil rights leaders and the police.
, president of the Patrolman's Benevolent Association in New York, said after the killings that "blood on the hands starts on the steps of City Hall in the office of the mayor," who was seen as having criticized the police in the aftermath of a grand jury decision not to indict Eric Garner.
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani
also lashed out at de Blasio, President Barack Obama, and Attorney General Eric Holder.
Speaking on Fox News, Giuliani said, "We've had four months of propaganda, starting with the president, that everybody should hate the police."
"They have created an atmosphere of severe, strong, anti-police hatred in certain communities, and for that, they should be ashamed of themselves," he said.
Civil rights leaders, meanwhile, condemned the killings but expressed fear that the backlash could derail the protest movement born out of the killings of Brown and Garner by police officers.
The Rev. Al Sharpton, who has called for peaceful protests, condemned "eye-for-an-eye" violence and called it isguided to blame protesters or politicians for the officers' deaths.
"We are now under intense threat from those who are misguided — from those who are trying to blame everyone from civil rights leaders to the mayor rather than deal with an ugly spirit that all of us need to fight," he said.
NAACP President Cornell William Brooks said on CBS' "Face the Nation" that, "To link the criminal insanity of a lone gunman to the peaceful protests and aspirations of many people across the country, including the attorney general, the mayor and even the president, is simply not fair."
Hundreds of people gathered for a candlelight vigil in Brooklyn on Sunday night to mark the deaths of the two officers, Fox News
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