Wednesday, May 25, 2022
Florida Catholic staff - Florida Catholic
Catholic News Agency and Florida Catholic staff
WASHINGTON | The U.S. Catholic bishops said on Tuesday that the country was facing an “epidemic of evil and violence” after a gunman killed 19 children and two adults at an elementary school in Texas.
In a statement issued on May 24, 2022, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) urged citizens to “implore our elected officials to help us take action.”
The USCCB issued the statement after a gunman opened fire at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, southwest Texas, killing 21 people. Officers reportedly killed the shooter, a local 18-year-old identified as Salvador Ramos.
Uvalde is a heavily Hispanic city, home to about 16,000 residents. It is located about 75 miles from the Texas border and 85 miles west of San Antonio.
According to the latest reports, all of the children killed appear to have been in the same fourth grade classroom. Two teachers also are among the dead. Before the attack, Ramos reportedly shot and wounded his grandmother, who is among those hospitalized.
Pope Francis said on Wednesday that his heart was broken by the killing. Speaking at the end of his general audience in St. Peter’s Square on May 25, he said: “My heart is broken for the massacre at the elementary school in Texas. I am praying for the children and the adults killed and their families.”
“It is time to say enough to the indiscriminate trafficking of weapons. Let us all work hard so that such tragedies can never happen again,” the pope added.
The statement from the USCCB’s public affairs director, Chieko Noguchi, said: “There have been too many school shootings, too much killing of the innocent. Our Catholic faith calls us to pray for those who have died and to bind the wounds of others, and we join our prayers along with the community in Uvalde and Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller.”
His statement continued: “As we do so, each of us also needs to search our souls for ways that we can do more to understand this epidemic of evil and violence and implore our elected officials to help us take action.”
Responding to the shooting on May 24, San Antonio Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller tweeted: “God have mercy on our children, their families, their communities. Darkness is dense with one more shooting in our country. Let us help one another to spark light and warmth. May we keep each other in company. Prayers are needed.”
The U.S. bishops deplored mass shootings in New York State and California earlier this month. In a May 16 statement, the USSCB said that it continued to “advocate for an end to violence,” citing the Church’s consistent appeals for “rational yet effective forms of regulation of dangerous weapons.”
The USCCB spoke out after a gunman killed 10 people and injured three others on May 14 at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, and a shooter killed one person and wounded five others on May 15 at a church in Laguna Woods, California.