BISHOPS in Arizona led prayers for the victims and their families after Saturday’s gun atrocity in the city of Tucson, in which six people were killed and the Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was left in a critical condition in hospital.
The Roman Catholic Bishop of Tucson, the Rt Revd Gerald Kicanas, called for calm after the shootings, which took place when he was in Jersualem at a meeting of RC bishops. He urged people to “try to understand one another and to find healthy ways to resolve our conflicts”.
The Bishop of Arizona, the Rt Revd Kirk Smith, said that he was “deeply saddened by the events in Tucson”, in a short statement issued on Saturday. He called for prayers for Mrs Giffords and her family and friends, and participated in an interfaith service in the state capital, Phoenix, on Saturday night.
Among the six victims of the gunman, Jared Loughner, were a nine-year old girl, Christina-Taylor Green, who last year had received her first communion at St Odilia’s, Tucson; John Roll, aged 63, a devout Roman Catholic and retired judge; and Dorwin Stoddard, aged 76, a retired volunteer at the Mountain Avenue Church of Christ in Tucson.
The editor of Sojourners magazine, Jim Wallis, said that he had been with Mrs Giffords over New Year, in South Carolina, and they had discussed her recent election victory in “one of the most divided states in the nation”. He urged Americans to reflect deeply “on how we speak to and about one another, and how we create environments that help peace grow, or allow violence and hatred to enter”.