By Christopher Wells
US Bishops have spoken out in support and solidarity for the Jewish community, after a shooting at the Chabad synagogue in Poway, California.
Bishop Robert McElroy, of San Diego, asked priests of his diocese to offer prayers at Sunday Masses for victims of the shooting, and for the Jewish community. “I know you join me in profound sadness and outrage that violence born of hatred against people of faith has again rent our nation”, he wrote in a tweet. Earlier, Bishop McElroy had tweeted, “Our hearts go out to everyone at Chabad House Poway for the senseless violence that took place earlier today. Houses of worship should be places of peace”.
In a statement released on Saturday, the President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, said, “I, along with my brother bishops, am greatly saddened and deeply concerned over the news that another house of worship has been subject to violence”. He continued, “Our country should be better than this; our world should be beyond such acts of hatred and anti-semitism”. Cardinal DiNardo said “It is a contradiction, a perverting of their teachings to believe that Christianity, Judaism, or Islam would condone such violence”.
Unfortunately, he said, “both in the past and today, too many preach such hatred in the name of God”. “This cannot be abided”, he insisted. “It must end”.
Cardinal DiNardo assured the victims of the shooting, and the Jewish community of Poway, of the prayers of Catholics, “placing our trust and hope in the ‘Lord [who] is close to the brokenhearted, and saves those whose spirit is crushed (Ps. 34:19)”.
One person was killed and three others were injured when a gunman opened fire during preparations for a service for the last day of Passover. Initial reports suggest the shooter’s firearm may have malfunctioned during the attack. The gunman was chased from the synagogue and made his escape by car; an off-duty law enforcement agent fired at him as he drove off, hitting the vehicle.
A suspect was later arrested, and is currently in custody.