‘A sword has pierced heart’ of city, says Orlando bishop about shooting

| June 13, 2016 | 1 Comment
People embrace outside the headquarters of the Orlando, Fla., Police Department June 12 during the investigation of a mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando. CNS/Steve Nesius, Reuters

People embrace outside the headquarters of the Orlando, Fla., Police Department June 12 during the investigation of a mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando. CNS/Steve Nesius, Reuters

Orlando Bishop John G. Noonan urged people of faith “to turn their hearts and souls” to God and pray for the victims, the families and first responders following the worst mass shooting in U.S. history June 12.

“A sword has pierced the heart of our city,” he said in a statement.

“The healing power of Jesus goes beyond our physical wounds but touches every level of our humanity: physical, emotional, social, spiritual,” he said. “Jesus calls us to remain fervent in our protection of life and human dignity and to pray unceasingly for peace in our world.”

The shooting rampage at a crowded nightclub in Orlando left 50 people dead, including the gunman, and 53 wounded.

Police said a lone gunman identified as 29-year-old Omar Mir Seddique Mateen — opened fire inside the Pulse club in Orlando in the early morning hours. New reports said that Mateen, who pledged allegiance to the Islamic State terrorist group, died in a gun battle with SWAT team members.

Across the nation, reaction from church and community leaders was swift, and in cities large and small, people organized candlelit vigils for the victims and their families the night of the shooting.

“Waking up to the unspeakable violence in Orlando reminds us of how precious human life is,” said Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, who is president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

“Our prayers are with the victims, their families and all those affected by this terrible act,” he said in a statement June 12. “The merciful love of Christ calls us to solidarity with the suffering and to ever greater resolve in protecting the life and dignity of every person.”

“Our prayers and hearts are with the victims of the mass shooting in Orlando, their families and our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters,” said Chicago Archbishop Blase J. Cupich.

In Orlando, priests, deacons and counselors from the Diocese of Orlando and Catholic Charities of Central Florida were serving at an aid center established by city officials.

Throughout the day June 12, church personnel were helping victims and families “on the front lines of this tragedy,” Bishop Noonan said. “They are offering God’s love and mercy to those who are facing unimaginable sorrow. They will remain vigilant and responsive to the needs of our hurting brothers and sisters.”

The bishop also asked all parishes in the nine-county diocese in central Florida to include prayer intentions during Sunday Masses.

“Today’s prayers have been offered for victims of violence and acts of terror … for their families and friends … and all those affected by such acts against God’s love,” Bishop Noonan said. “We pray for the people of the city of Orlando that God’s mercy and love will be upon us as we seek healing and consolation.”

Bishop Noonan planned to lead an evening prayer vigil for the community — called a “Vigil to Dry Tears” — at St. James Cathedral in Orlando June 13.

He said the Catholic Church “recognizes the affliction brought to our city, our families and our friends” by “this massive assault on the dignity of human life. … I hope this opportunity to join each other in prayer will bring about an outpouring of the mercy of God within the heart of our community.”

In his statement, Archbishop Cupich expressed gratitude to the first responders and civilians at the scene of the shooting. They “heroically put themselves in harm’s way, providing an enduring reminder of what compassion and bravery look like — even in the face of such horror and danger,” he said.

“In response to hatred, we are called to sow love,” he added. “In response to violence, peace. And, in response to intolerance, tolerance.”

Tags: , , , ,

Category: U.S. & World News

  • Charles C.

    Is there any way in which such horror can become routine? This type of killing is certainly making a good attempt to become the new standard.

    A Muslim who attends his mosque regularly notes that there is someone behaving in a manner condemned by Islam (Or is in a country seen to be attacking Islam). He then decides it’s his duty to kill those involved, and many die.

    The President and the Bishops publicly announce that the untimely death of these people is a tragedy and that we should sympathize with, or pray for, the victims. There is no mention of the killer or his motivations. They then call for even stricter gun control.

    Muslim spokesmen broadcast that they do not approve of the killing (as though anyone expected that they would announce that they do approve of it), and remind people not to feel any differently about Islam or Muslims because of the killing because that would be racist, Islamophobic, or something.

    Non-Muslims cry and stick up flowers, candles, and photographs near the site of the murders. Some even change their picture on social media to show a flag in the background.

    Then time passes, the press doesn’t follow up, and shortly afterwards we go through it all over again.

    In this case? Omar Mir Seddique Mateen attended Mosque regularly. He pledged allegiance to ISIS to the 911 operator just before he started shooting, and mentioned the Boston Marathon bombing in his call.

    In 2013, Sheikh Farrokh Sekaleshfar, a British-born Iranian cleric, and an expert
    on Shariah Islamiyya or Islamic Law, spoke to the members of the Husseini Islamic Center in Sanford, Florida, an outlying suburb of Orlando.

    In his sermon, or lecture, Sekaleshfar made it abundantly clear that the “compassionate thing to do” where homosexuals are concerned is to kill them.

    “Death is the sentence, We know. There’s nothing to be embarrassed about this. Death is the sentence,” Sekaleshfar says in a video. “We have to have the compassion for people. With homosexuals, it’s the same. Out of compassion, let’s get rid of them now.”

    He was invited back to the mosque and spoke again in April of this year, two months before the murders. (As an aside, the mosque which Omar Mateen attended is the same mosque attended by the first American Muslim to die as a suicide bomber in Syria. That was two years ago.)

    The Minnesota Catholic Conference and the US Conference of Catholic Bishops happily, and frequently, encourage us to go to our legislators to demand various solutions to problems in education, immigration, health care, income inequality, and the whole raft of “Social Justice” issues. In this case, all they have is gun control.

    Mateen complied with every gun law in Florida. Background and criminal checks, mandatory training time, everything. Nobody is seriously proposing any law which would have prevented him from shooting up the nightclub.

    Surprisingly, there is one law which made it easier for him to kill. The state prohibited anyone from carrying a gun where alcohol was served. That meant that not one of the victims had any weapon to defend themselves. The patrons had to stand around and get shot while waiting for the police to arrive. (The police arrival was sped up since Mateen himself placed the 911 call before he started shooting. Without the call he would have had at least an additional minute to fire.) We can chalk up at least some of the deaths to gun control.

    What’s the over and under on the next attack which the president and Bishops will call a tragedy and ask us to pray some more? My guess is six weeks.

    “So, be wise as serpents and as innocent as doves.”

    We’ve got the “innocent as doves” part down pretty well, but He called on us to be wise as well, for doves are birdbrains.