Statement of Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, C.Ss.R., on the Events of this Past Weekend in El Paso, TX and Dayton, OH

Last weekend, I joined much of our nation in watching reports from El Paso and Dayton. As details emerged about these latest mass shootings, many of us asked a simple, anguished question – how long must we wait?

How many people have to die from unspeakable violence until our legislators act on gun control legislation? Twenty-five years ago the U.S. Bishops wrote, “Our families are torn by violence. Our communities are destroyed by violence. Our faith is tested by violence. We have an obligation to respond.”1

One would hope that over these years and countless lost lives, we would have been moved to meaningful action – but sadly, this has not happened.  We fear that for a few weeks there will be outrage, promises of “thoughts and prayers,” our legislators will announce their intention to study the problem, and nothing will happen.

What is different now is the culture of hate that has been developing over the last few years. Whether it is expressed in the violence of white nationalism or violence against the defenseless unborn, hate seems to be an accepted way of life.

I call upon our legislators to enact these reasonable measures:

     – A ban on the sale or possession of all assault weapons. 

     – The use of universal background checks for all gun purchases. 

     – A federal law criminalizing gun trafficking within the nation and across our borders. 

May the Prince of Peace sustain our hope and guide us in these coming days.

(1) Confronting a Culture of Violence: A Catholic Framework for Action;