Bishop Farrell of Dallas decries gun violence in wake of shootings

Catholic bishops were among those taking to social media late Thursday evening to express shock and grief over the murder of five Dallas-area police officers following an otherwise peaceful protest calling attention to the killing of black Americans by police.

Bishop Kevin Farrell of Dallas tweeted as the news was breaking, calling for prayers for the officers hit by what is believed to be sniper fire, as well as two African-Americans killed by police in other cities earlier this week.

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“Please pray for the police officers shot in Dallas, & for the souls & families of Philando Castile & Alton Sterling,” Farrell posted last night.

As the evening progressed and it became clear that there were multiple deaths in Dallas—five as of Friday morning—Bishop Farrell continued to tweet, urging prayers for victims and posting a strong condemnation of gun culture.

“All of us are affected by the senseless gun violence in our country. Lord, bless our country and help us to love one another!” he posted, followed by another Tweet: “Gun violence is not a problem for someone in another state, or another town. It affects EVERYONE - even right here in #Dallas.”

The bishop also offered prayers, turning to the psalms.

“I set the LORD ever before me; with him at my right hand I shall not be disturbed. Ps 16 #PrayforDallas #DallasPoliceShooting,” he tweeted Friday morning.

Bishop Farrell has written extensively about lax gun laws in the United States, most recently following the attack in Orlando that left 50 people dead.

“Our gun laws are an invitation to kill,” he wrote on his blog on June 13. “They would be ludicrous if the situation were not so tragic.”

Other bishops in Texas also weighed in as the news broke.

Bishop Joseph Strickland of the Diocese of Tyler, about 100 miles east of Dallas, tweeted, “We pray for the Dallas police officers and for all who have been harmed by the senseless and evil violence in Dallas.  Lord bring us Peace.”

The Diocese of Austin, about 200 miles south of Dallas, used its Facebook page to ask for prayers for Dallas.

The Diocese of Dallas posted a tweet calling for prayers Thursday evening.

“We pray for love, justice, mercy, tolerance, patience & peace. God bless our city and nation and all those deceased & hurt. #Dallas,” the message read.

A Catholic church in downtown Dallas was closed Friday, following orders from law enforcement officials who said early Friday morning that they were not confident the area was safe.

St. Jude Chapel announced on its Facebook page that it would reopen Saturday, and posted a photo asking for prayers for the city.

UPDATE 11:11AM

Bishop Farrell published a blog post Friday morning, calling Thursday night’s violence “staggering” and repeating his calls for prayers and political action.

“Our first concern is for the families who have lost loved ones in this tragic attack,” he wrote. “We pray for consolation and healing for both the families and those killed and wounded. We are reminded of the ever -present danger to those who are dedicated to protecting us.”

“We have been swept up in the escalating cycle of violence that has now touched us intimately as it has others throughout our country and the world,” he wrote. “All lives matter: black, white, Muslim, Christian, Hindu.”

“We are all children of God and all human life is precious,” he continued.

He then urged “civic leaders to speak to one another and work together to come to a sensible resolution to this escalating violence” and invoked the words of Pope Francis.

“May the God of peace arouse in all an authentic desire for dialogue and reconciliation. Violence cannot be overcome with violence. Violence is overcome with peace,” he wrote, quoting the pope.

UPDATE 3:54 P.M.

Bishop Farrell has released a video responding to the shootings:

 

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J Cabaniss
1 year 10 months ago
The racial attitudes of young blacks are so poisoned that some of them believe they are justified in ambushing and assassinating police officers, and the bishop thinks this is a problem of gun violence? In the same way that the current administration refuses to acknowledge the attacks of Muslim terrorists as...the attacks of Muslim terrorists... it appears that the bishop is equally unwilling to acknowledge what is actually going on. There may be several reasonable ways to spin the nature of the murders in Dallas, but "gun violence" is not one of them. If it is true that "Our gun laws are an invitation to kill" perhaps the bishop can explain why, with 300 million guns in private hands, so few people actually use them that way. Perhaps just once we could focus on the delusional self-deceptions people such as the Dallas killers use to justify their actions. Highlighting what prompted this latest piece of insanity would surely be more useful than blaming it all on the particular tools with which they implemented their murderous plans. Blacks have been told by virtually every black leader that whites are bigots, that racism explains all. It is unreasonable to believe that such talk would not eventually bear this kind of fruit.
Vincent Gaglione
1 year 10 months ago
"Blacks have been told by virtually every black leader that whites are bigots, that racism explains all." I don't know to which black leaders Mr. Cabaniss refers. If I recall correctly, to use but one example, after the Charleston church shootings, the almost total reaction was forgiveness to the shooter, who apparently was a racist. The recent preponderance of shootings of black men, many unarmed, by police needs to be addressed, whatever the origin, certainly not by revenge. If Mr. Cabaniss believes what he states, then he might very well prove the statement that he makes! As for his idea that guns are not part of the issue, he makes no statement as to the availability of guns to any person in the nation without so much as an iota of regulation about who may purchase and what may be purchased. The irony of the Dallas shootings is that the perpetrator was of such a background - military reservist and veteran - that made him most probably to Mr. Cabaniss' mind, just the right sort of person who should be able to purchase any type of gun without any restraint. Weapons of war designed to shoot rapidly do not belong in the hands of any civilian for any reason. A hunting rifle is another story. I have my doubts even about handguns but I am willing to consider discussions on those. Finally, the great irony of all this is that the lionized Catholic Supreme Court Justice Scalia, Jesuit educated, gifted the nation with this interpretation of the second amendment of the Constitution, an interpretation which bears no Catholic sensibility to it at all to my mind but mightily motivates Mr. Cabaniss.
J Cabaniss
1 year 10 months ago
These are some of the leaders to whom I refer: I want white people to recognize that there is systemic racism. It’s also in employment. It’s in housing, but it is in the criminal justice system as well.” (Hillary Clinton) And this: THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the DNC joins with Americans across the country in affirming “Black lives matter” and the “say her name” efforts to make visible the pain of our fellow and sister Americans as they condemn extrajudicial killings of unarmed African American men, women and children ... As to the "recent preponderance of shootings of black men", this is precisely my point: that perception is wrong. That Mr. Gaglione simply accepts it at face value shows how easy it is to mislead people. The Bureau of Justice Statistics keeps track of incidents such as this, and the percentage of blacks who die either in police custody or while being apprehended is virtually identical to that for whites. It is not primarily the access to guns that caused this tragedy, it is the bigoted rhetoric that led those men to justify their murders. I do, however, agree with Mr. Gaglione that there is no trace of Catholic sensibility in Justice Scalia's interpretation of Second Amendment cases, or of any cases whatever for that matter, and this goes to his excellence as a justice. It was never his task nor his right to interpret the law in light of the catechism. His job was to interpret it in light of the Constitution. Whether it was good or bad was not for him - or any justice - to decide.

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