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US bishops mourn Orlando shooting victims

June 13, 2016

Many US bishops issued statements mourning the victims of the mass murder in a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, on June 12.

Bishop John Noonan of Orlando spoke of the "sadness, shock, and confusion" that the massacre had brought to his community. "I urge people of faith to turn their hearts and soulds to the great physician, our lord Jesus Christ," he said. The bishop announced a Monday evening prayer vigil for the victims.

Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, the president of the US bishops' conference, condemned the "unspeakable violence" of the incident, and said that it should be a reminder of the value of all human life. "Our prayers are with the victims, their families, and all those affected by this terrible act," he said.

Archbishop Blaise Cupich of Chicago emphasized the impact of the killings on homosexuals, and called for steps to "address the causes of such tragedy, including easy access to deadly weapons." He said: "We can no longer stand by and do nothing."

Bishop Robert Lynch of St. Petersburg, Florida, also called for stronger gun-control measures, saying: "If one is truly pro-life, then embrace this issue also and work for the elimination of sales to those who would turn them on innocents." Bishop Lynch also embraced the view that religion, by condemning homosexuality, incites such acts of violence. He said that "sadly it is religion, including our own, which targets, mostly verbally, and also often breeds contempt for gays, lesbians, and transgender people." 

 
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