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Pope, bishops decry school shooting in Texas

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.

Comments from readers

Donna Malchrist - 05/25/2022 03:31 PM
What I have seen and heard is more then enough to tear my heart out.It saddens and hurts me that lovely and innocent children along with two teachers have to lose their lives due to the actions of a mentally disturbed young man, who should have never gotten access to guns.Who knows,if copycat crimes like that could also happen here in Florida or somewhere else.Would people be afraid to go grocery shopping at their local supermarket, or attend worship services at their own Catholic Church?Enough is Enough.We need to take action now to help stem the tide of gun violence.May God comfort the surviving family members.Heaven has gained so many more and beautiful Angels.I hope and pray, that more stringent gun control laws would be enacted, and lives not lost.Amen.And May God bless the United States of America.
Sister Lidia Valli - 05/25/2022 02:33 PM
Our hearts are broken for this new act of violence. Let there be peace and let it begin with me.