“Something remains fundamentally evil in our society when locations where people congregate to engage in the everyday activities of life can, without warning, become scenes of violence and contempt for human life.”
US bishops expressed that conviction this weekend in a statement that followed a mass shooting in the US state of Texas on Saturday and shortly before another in Ohio.
In Texas, a gunman opened fire with a rifle on shoppers in an El Paso mall, killing 20 people and injuring over two dozen others.
Investigators are treating the shooting as a case of domestic terrorism and as a hate crime.
The gunman, who surrendered to police, had posted a manifesto online calling his act of violence “a response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas”.
Just 13 hours later, in Dayton, Ohio, another man killed 9 people and wounded 27 others with an assault-style rifle.
Police shot and killed the shooter within 1 minute.
In a separate statement released after the Ohio shooting, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo and Bishop Frank Dewane say the pair of mass shootings reveal “a terrible truth”.
“We can never again believe that mass shootings are an isolated exception,” the two Catholic bishops note. “They are an epidemic against life that we must, in justice, face.”
Expressing their condolences to the victims’ families, the US bishops urge preventative action in the form of “prayer and sacrifice for healing”, as well as a renewed push for changes to gun laws.
Address root causes
“We encourage Catholics to pray and raise their voices for needed changes to our national policy and national culture,” they write.
The USCCB “has long advocated for responsible gun laws and increased resources for addressing the root causes of violence.”
“Things must change,” say US bishops.