Pope Francis has condemned the massacre in the gay nightclub in Orlando and criticised the free flow of weapons around the world, echoing the words of Chicago Archbishop Blase Cupich, who earlier called for greater efforts on gun control.
The Pontiff blasted what he called the unacceptable “paradox” of a world in which weapons circulate freely, yet humanitarian aid is blocked by politics, self-interest, and petty bureaucratic considerations, in remarks to the Rome offices of the United Nations World Food Program yesterday.
The Vatican released a statement on Sunday saying that the attack prompted “the deepest feelings of horror and condemnation, of pain and turmoil” in the Pope, who called for prayers for the victims and their families.
Archbishop Cupich raised the issue of gun control in a statement after the massacre, which left 50 people dead. "The people of the Archdiocese of Chicago stand with the victims and their loved ones, and reaffirm our commitment, with Pope Francis, to address the causes of such tragedy, including easy access to deadly weapons. We can no longer stand by and do nothing.”
The attack by a Florida man on Sunday was the largest mass shooting in US history and the worst terror attack since the September 11 attacks in 2001.
The attacker, Omar Mateen, 29, who was killed in a shootout at the club with police, recently bought a handgun and an AR-15-style assault rifle, the type of weapon commonly used in mass shootings.
Florida Bishop Robert Lynch lamented the role religion has played in breeding contempt for the LGBT community. “Sadly it is religion, including our own, which targets, mostly verbally, and also often breeds contempt for gays, lesbians and transgender people,” Bp Lynch wrote on his blog yesterday.
“Attacks today on LGBT men and women often plant the seed of contempt, then hatred, which can ultimately lead to violence.”
Photo: Terry DeCarlo, executive director of the LGBT Centre of Central Florida, left, Kelvin Cobaris, pastor of The Impact Church, centre, and Orlando City Commissioner Patty Sheehan console each other (AP)