From the Most Reverend Leonard P. Blair, Archbishop of Hartford (June 12, 2016 – 9:07 p.m.)
I sadly write this reflection on the Lord’s Day. It is a day when Orlando’s death toll is reported to be 50 people and another 53 people are said to be seriously wounded. These victims are young people who died brutally at the hand of a 29-year-old, heavily armed gunman identified as a U.S. citizen who authorities say pledged allegiance to ISIS and mentioned the Boston Marathon bombers before he died in a hail of gunfire.
How do we as Christians respond to such murderous hate and the carnage of terrorism – to what is being described as the most deadly mass shooting in U.S. history?
First, let us pray for those who died tragically, and for their families now grieving and struggling with emotions ranging from shock to outrage to fear. Let us also send our loving prayers to those who have been physically and emotionally injured, acknowledging the security and medical professionals who helped in their rescue and who are currently administering care.
As Catholics, we firmly believe that acts of terrorism and violence never serve to honor God.
Instead, we praise our heavenly Father and all of humanity whenever we chose to remain faithful, loving agents of peace. Even as we do what is necessary to defend ourselves and others, we have to recall Our Lord’s words: “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven.”
As an archdiocesan family of faith, we call upon our bond of humanity to help raise Orlando up from abject suffering to God’s unconditional love and mercy. We grieve with you and hold dear in our hearts the precious lives that have been senselessly lost, as we pray for the recovery of those who survived today’s massacre.