Aurora Batman massacre – praying not enough

While people flock to churches to pray and gather in public spaces to console each other after the Batman massacre, some voices are being raised saying prayer is not a sufficient response; change is needed.

At Queen of Peace Catholic Church in Aurora, Denver, where nearly 1,500 people gathered to remember parishioner A.J. Boik, who was among the 12 people killed in the Batman massacre, Father  Mauricio Bermudez said “We live in a culture that promotes violence.” He asked, “What kind of people are we becoming?”

“This is our opportunity to change things, to do something different,” said Bermudez.

Father James Martin, says responding to the Aurora Batman massacre by calling on God for help and comfort is not enough: “Simply praying, ‘God, never let this happen again’ is insufficient for the person who believes that God gave us the intelligence to bring about lasting change,” he said.

Martin’s opinion piece created an avalanche of comment on Facebook and Twitter. Within hours of posting his opinion he had to shut down comments on his Facebook page and cut off trading tweets on the topic.

Martin says just praying is not enough. He thinks gun control is as much a pro-life issue as is abortion, euthanasia or the death penalty “and programs that provide the poor with the same access to basic human needs as the wealthy.”

There is a “consistent ethic of life” that views all these issues as linked, because they are,” he says.

Martin believes that pro-life religious people need to consider how it might be made more difficult for people to procure weapons that are not designed for sport or hunting or self-defense. “If one protests against abortion clinics because they facilitate the taking of human life, why not protest against largely unregulated suppliers of firearms because they facilitate the taking of human life as well?”

In Rome on Sunday, Pope Benedict expressed dismay and sadness at the shooting.

“I was deeply shocked by the senseless violence which took place in Aurora, Denver,” he said in his regular Sunday Angelus address.


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