The following is an editorial appeared in the June 14 issue of Our Sunday Visitor, a national Catholic newsweekly based in Huntington, Indiana. It was written by the newspaper’s editorial board.
The June 12 mass shooting in a nightclub in Orlando, Florida, is a horrific tragedy that leaves every person of goodwill wanting to find an appropriate way to respond as we struggle to make sense of such violence, destruction, hate and suffering.
One of the first ways our church is responding is by speaking out about how the events go against everything we uphold as community values. A statement issued by the Vatican on behalf of Pope Francis referred to the Orlando attack as “terrible and absurd violence.” It is almost incomprehensible that a country that has seen as many mass shootings as the United States is still capable of having its worst one in our lifetimes, in terms of dead and wounded.
We as a church are all standing in solidarity with the victims and their families, with the community in Orlando, with our heroic first responders and with members of the gay and lesbian community who were targeted in this deadly assault.
Bishop John G. Noonan of the Diocese of Orlando tweeted in the wake of the attack that the church prays for victims, their families and our first responders. These tragedies touch so many lives in ways that remind us that we are all one body and that the whole suffers with the individual parts.
Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said “the merciful love of Christ calls us to solidarity with the suffering and to ever greater resolve in protecting the life and dignity of every person.”
We respect the life of every human person, including Muslims and those in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. Violence is terrible enough. Violence borne of extremism and targeting any group is even more repugnant.
We as a church are praying and seeking ways to serve and accompany all those who are injured and suffering. Many Masses and prayer vigils have already taken place where we have asked God’s intervention to help us heal and now to work to bring light in response to all this darkness.
Catholics have stood in line to give much needed blood and to provide direct material assistance to those who are grieving the loss of family members and close friends. We also are ready to help those who are spiritually struggling with making sense of the question of evil in the world and guiding them to see that God is always with us throughout our struggle and that Jesus himself suffered a brutally violent and unjust death.
We as a church are standing up for the dignity of all human life. We have experienced too many mass shootings in schools, churches, theaters and social gathering spaces. Since we believe that all life from conception to natural death is sacred, our church leaders have consistently advocated for common sense assault-weapons bans and legislation and enforcement of gun laws to limit the chances that events like Orlando will reoccur.
We also work with our community leaders and law enforcement agencies for effective legislation and approaches to limit the possibility of acts of terrorism.
We as a church are seeking to reconcile and bring peace at a time when some may use the events to divide groups against each other. The church reminds us that we can be part of God’s merciful healing, choosing to respond to hatred with love, not succumbing to narratives of suspicion and fear.
The views or positions presented in this or any guest editorial are those of the individual publication or author and do not necessarily represent the views of CatholicPhilly.com, Catholic News Service or the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Join the CatholicPhilly.com family
CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you and hundreds of other people become part of our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community and sustain CatholicPhilly.com as your trusted news source. Thank you in advance!
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
PREVIOUS: A cup of coffee with the champ
NEXT: Statutes of Limitation retroactivity would violate Pa. constitution
What does it mean to say “we are all standing in solidarity with the gay and lesbian community when the church consider homosexuality as an “intrinsic disorder”?
I agree with Bishop Lynch from Saint Petersburg, FL, who said that organized religion, including ours, is in part to blame by breeding contempt against homosexuals. While it is clear the church will not embrace gay marriage, it has done little (despite Pope Francis’ effort) to dispel its long-standing position, reaffirmed even within the last 10 years by Pope Benedict, that homosexuals are “intrinsically disordered.”
As a gay man, I’m embarrassed to acknowledge in church that I’m gay. In fact, I believe I would be shunned in my particular parish by the pastors there, based on what some have said off the pulpit over the years.
The reasons for the massacre in Orlando are complex, but in my view, organized religion and the Cathilic Church certainly do little to change the tone of intolerance.
Being gay is the way God made me and nothing certain leaders say will change that. Bishop Lynch’s statement was more than welcome and a courageous statement on the causes of such violence.