AUSTIN — The Catholic bishops of Texas express their deep sadness for the loss of life at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, on Sunday. Their full statement follows:
Our hearts ache for those suffering from the terrible loss of life at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs on Nov. 5. We open our hands and hearts for these families in this moment of terrible tragedy. We should all fall on our knees in prayer in this moment of disaster.
As Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller so eloquently wrote, “These Baptist brethren are our family, friends and neighbors who live among us in the archdiocese; just minutes away from our Wilson County parishes of Sacred Heart in Floresville, St. Ann in La Vernia, and St. Mary in Stockdale. We are committed to work in unity with all our brothers and sisters to build peace in our communities; to connect in a more direct and substantial way. The Catholic Church in Texas and across the United States is with you.”
We must pray for wisdom and courage, to do what we can to stand against violence and for life. With charity and peace in our hearts, we must firmly resolve to prevent senseless violence. Otherwise, we make a mockery of our professed desire to build a culture of life and to renounce this world’s culture of death. As Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston wrote as president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, “A Culture of Life cannot tolerate, and must prevent, senseless gun violence in all its forms. May the Lord, who Himself is Peace, send us His Spirit of charity and nonviolence to nurture His peace among us all.”
May God have mercy on all and may the souls of the departed rest in peace.