This evening at the opening of Event 2016, Patty Johnson, CSJ, released a statement from the U.S. Federation of the Sisters of St. Joseph in response to the Orlando Shooting. Read the full statement below:

 

STATEMENT

We, the U.S. Federation of the Sisters of St. Joseph with a mission of unity and committed to protecting the rights and dignity of all people, decry the horrific mass shooting of innocent victims at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando. We believe that all people are made in God’s image and likeness and are deserving of unconditional love and respect. 

We are astounded by this tragic loss of human life. Believing that each person is loved by God, we stand in solidarity with our LGBTQ1 sisters and brothers. We extend prayers and heartfelt sorrow to the families and friends of those who were killed in Orlando as well as first responders, medical personnel, the people of Orlando, and our Muslim sisters and brothers. We are one. All are our “dear neighbors”. All worship the same God and believe in a loving and peaceful world.

Our nation has witnessed too many lives lost due to the availability of assault weapons. We raise our voices to the U.S. Congress echoing the words of Pope Francis and ask: “Why are deadly weapons being sold to those who plan to inflict untold suffering on individuals and society? Sadly, the answer, as we all know, is simply for money: money that is drenched in blood, often innocent blood. In the face of this shameful and culpable silence, it is our duty to confront the problem and to stop the arms trade.” 2      

Together, with all people of goodwill, let us work together to eliminate gun violence and eradicate every form of discrimination, so that the peace for which Jesus lived and died may be realized on this earth.

DRAWING ON OUR SACRED SCRIPTURES

“…that they may all be one, as you are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me.” John 17:21

IMPACT OF GUN VIOLENCE

“[There] is a need to protect the fundamental rights of children that emphasizes the obligation that all individuals have in ensuring a safe and supportive environment for children and youth...Gun ownership is seen as a key American value, and that many citizens feel entitled to gun ownership and dislike interventions that limit their access. Unfortunately, gun ownership is often associated with the devastating violence that takes place in communities around the country–especially those in which there is a high poverty rate, which can increase the difficulty of preventing gun-based crime…” 3

 

REFLECTION ON CATHOLIC SOCIAL TEACHINGS 

 

Respect for Human Dignity 

Catholic social teaching tells us that being in the image of God, we as human beings possess the dignity that does not come from the work we do, from our social positions, or from what we have, but from the fact that we are all children of God, beloved by our Creator.  By the same token, we enter into communion with all other persons as we are called by grace to a covenant with our Creator offering us a response of faith and love.

 

TALKING POINTS

 

  • The Sisters of St. Joseph affirm that we are ONE. We reverence the sacredness of all humanity and stand with all whose lives are shattered by this tragedy. 
  • Ÿ Our deepest sympathy, presence, and prayers are with the families and friends of the many innocent victims and survivors.
  • Ÿ Aware that these actions of one are not representative of any group, we stand with our Muslim sisters and brothers who, once again, fall victim of Islamophobia.
  • Ÿ This inexcusable and atrocious attack on the LGBTQ Latino community is an attack on our human community at large.


 ACTIONS

  • Ÿ Stand as one community and offer support and sincere prayers for the victims and their families.
  • Ÿ Call on legislators to make stronger gun laws that require inclusion of mental health information and background checks when purchasing firearms.
  • Ÿ Speak out against violence and discrimination against all who are marginalized
  • Ÿ Reach out to Muslim sisters and brothers in the workplace and within the community.
  • Ÿ Advocate for legislation that ensures the rights and safety of Muslims, LGBTQs, and all who are marginalized.

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1 LGBTQ, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning

2 Pope Francis address to Congress, September 24th, 2015

3 The Child Welfare League of America


Download the Full Statement - Click Here

Prayer for Orlando - Click Here

Learn More About Event 2016 - Click Here

Download U.S. Federation Fact Sheet - Click Here