Pope says ‘time to say enough’ after Uvalde school shooting
Pope Francis on Wednesday said his “heart is broken” after the a mass shooting at a Texas elementary school and called for gun control, arguing it was “time to say enough” to the “indiscriminate” spread of firearms.
Less than a day after a gunman shot and killed 19 children and two adults at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, Pope Francis at St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City prayed for the victims of the tragedy and called for an end to the violence.
“It is time to say enough to the indiscriminate trafficking of arms,” the pope said, according to a video shared by the Vatican news agency. “Let us all commit ourselves so that such tragedies can never happen again.”
The 18-year-old gunman, who was killed after he opened fire at the elementary school on Tuesday afternoon, wielded an AR-15-style rifle in the shooting. Officials said the suspect in the attack legally purchased two such weapons days before the shooting.
The tragedy spurred renewed calls for gun control measures, with some calling for Congress to renew the federal assault weapons ban that expired in 2004 and pass an expanded background check bill now stalled in the Senate.
The massacre on Tuesday came just 10 days after a mass shooting in Buffalo, N.Y., which left 10 people dead and had already led many to push for action on gun safety.
Other Catholic leaders also spoke out against gun violence following the Texas shooting. Cardinal Blase Cupich, the archbishop of Chicago, said America was “awash in guns” and that “mass shootings have become a daily reality” in a lengthy Twitter thread on Tuesday.
“As I reflect on this latest American massacre, I keep returning to the questions: Who are we as a nation if we do not act to protect our children? What do we love more: our instruments of death or our future?” he asked. “The right to bear arms will never be more important than human life. Our children have rights too. And our elected officials have a moral duty to protect them.”
U.S. ambassador to Holy See Joe Donnelly said in a statement released on Twitter the same day that the country was “witnessing a sickness, and the face of evil.”
“We continue to pray for these blessed children and other wonderful people who were killed and their families. We are crushed by this loss,” he said.
Also on Tuesday, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops released a statement shortly after the attack, calling school shootings an “epidemic of evil and violence.”
“There have been too many school shootings, too much killing of the innocent. Our Catholic faith calls us to pray for those who have died and to bind the wounds of others, and we join our prayers along with the community in Uvalde,” the statement read. “As we do so, each of us also needs to search our souls for ways that we can do more to understand this epidemic of evil and violence and implore our elected officials to help us take action.”