Catholic World News

Pope Benedict, Cardinal Dolan: grief, prayer after school shooting

December 17, 2012

Expressing “heartfelt grief” following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Connecticut, Pope Benedict offered prayers and condolences in a December 15 telegram sent to the administrator of the Diocese of Bridgeport.

“The Holy Father was promptly informed of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, and he has asked me to convey his heartfelt grief and the assurance of this closeness in prayer to the victims and their families, and to all affected by the shocking event,” wrote Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican’s Secretary of State. “In the aftermath of this senseless tragedy he asks God, our Father, to console all those who mourn and to sustain the entire community with the spiritual strength which triumphs over violence by the power of forgiveness, hope, and reconciling love.”

Following his Sunday Angelus address, Pope Benedict told pilgrims:

I was deeply saddened by Friday’s senseless violence in Newtown, Connecticut. I assure the families of the victims, especially those who lost a child, of my closeness in prayer. May the God of consolation touch their hearts and ease their pain. During this Advent Season, let us dedicate ourselves more fervently to prayer and to acts of peace. Upon those affected by this tragedy, and upon each of you, I invoke God’s abundant blessings!

Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, also issued a statement in the wake of the shooting.

“The shooting tragedy at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut wrenches the hearts of all people,” he said. “The tragedy of innocent people dying through violence shatters the peace of all.”

He added:

At this time, we pledge especially our prayerful support to the Diocese of Bridgeport and the community of Newtown as they cope with this almost unbearable sorrow. We pray that the peace that passes understanding be with them as they deal with the injuries they have sustained and with the deaths of their beautiful children.

Once again we speak against the culture of violence infecting our country even as we prepare to welcome the Prince of Peace at Christmas. All of us are called to work for peace in our homes, our streets and our world, now more than ever.

In the shadow of this shooting, may we know that God’s sacrificial love sustains us and may those pained so deeply by this tragedy experience that care in their own hearts.


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  • Posted by: koenigj7311 - Dec. 17, 2012 1:00 PM ET USA

    It seems always awkward to speak at times like this. Yet I am compelled to call attention to the leering monster who has coaxed us into this cesspool with glowing promises of happiness attendant upon unrestrained sexual gratification and irresponsible self-seeking. Does anyone else see him? With so many adolescents being raised in atmospheres devoid of tangible expressions of Christ's Love, can we be surprised if Satan finds hapless helpers among them? Chickens come home to roost.