Church leaders of all denominations across the United States appealed for prayers and condemned the shooting in Arizona which that killed six, including John M Roll, the chief judge for the United States District Court for Arizona, and a child, and wounded at least a dozen others, including US Representative Gabrielle Giffords.
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) renewed their call for respect for human life, as the nation mourned for those affected by the shooting that killed six, including John M. Roll, the chief judge for the United States District Court for Arizona, and wounded at least a dozen others, including US Representative Gabrielle Giffords. The incident occurred on the morning of 8 January, when Giffords was meeting with constituents outside a supermarket in Tucson, Arizona.
“Our prayers and concern are with those most immediately affected by this violence,” said Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York, president of the USCCB. “We commend to God those who have died and we pray for the families who lost loved ones and for those who are suffering from their wounds. We also pray for the person who committed these acts and those who are responsible for his care.”
“While we as bishops are also concerned about the wider implications of the Tucson incident, we caution against drawing any hasty conclusions about the motives of the assailant until we know more from law enforcement authorities.” Archbishop Dolan said. “Violence of any kind must be condemned. When the target of a violent act is a public official, it shakes the confidence of the nation in its ability to protect its leaders and those who want to participate in the democratic process. As bishops we call once more for respect for the life and dignity of every person as we work together for the common good, seeking to address the various social and political issues that face us as a nation.”
The Episcopalian Bishop of Arizon Kirk Smith said in a short statement on the day of the shooting: "We were all deeply saddened by the events in Tucson today. We hold Representative Gabrielle Giffords, her family and friends, and all involved in our prayers. I would like to ask that everyone include the victims and their families in your prayers both at home and at church. I ask all diocesan clergy to include them in the weekend's Prayers of the People."
Smith also participated in an interfaith prayer service at the state capitol in Phoenix the evening of the shootings.
The Very Rev Nicholas Knisely, dean of Trinity Cathedral in Phoenix, said during his sermon on Sunday: "if we are to stand against the flames of violence and hatred that even now are licking at the edges of our state, we are going to have to live into our vocation as members of the Body of Christ"
"We are going to have create humanizing relationships with each other that will make it impossible to objectify our sister and brother," he said. "We are going to have to make our city, our state and our country into our neighborhood. We must build walls of love with each one of us serving as a brick in that wall. And those walls will stand against the flames."
In Washington, DC, The Very Rev Samuel Lloyd III, dean of Washington National Cathedral, issued a statement the same evening saying "the prayers and deepest hopes of the entire National Cathedral community are with Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, the other individuals, their families, and the people of Tucson, Arizona, following this morning's tragic shooting. As the well-being of Ms Giffords and others in critical care hang in the balance, let us come together in a spirit of unity as Americans and as people of many faiths to pray for their healing and to work for a spirit of peace in our country."
Jared L. Loughner, a troubled 22-year-old college dropout, was charged with five federal counts on Sunday, including the attempted assassination of a member of Congress, the New York Times reported. He was due to appear before a federal magistrate today.