Florida school shooting an act of 'horrifying evil,' says Miami archbishop

IMAGE: CNS photo/Giorgio Viera, EPA


MIAMI (CNS) — Miami Archbishop
Thomas G. Wenski urged community members to come together “to support one
another in this time of grief” after a shooting rampage Feb. 14 at a Broward
County high school left at least 17 people dead.

“With God’s help, we can remain
strong and resolute to resist evil in all its manifestations,” the archbishop
said in a statement. “May God heal the brokenhearted and comfort the sorrowing
as we once again face as a nation another act of senseless violence and
horrifying evil.”

In a late-night telegram to
Archbishop Wenski, Pope Francis assured “all those affected by this devastating
attack of his spiritual closeness.” “With the hope that such senseless acts of
violence may cease,” he invoked “divine blessings of peace and strength” on the
South Florida community.

Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of
Galveston-Houston, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops,
for prayer and healing. He urged all unite their “prayers and sacrifices for
the healing and consolation” of those affected by the violence in South Florida
and for a society “with fewer tragedies caused by senseless gun violence.”

Law enforcement officials
identified the shooting suspect as 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, who had been
expelled for disciplinary reasons from the school where he opened fire —
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. On the afternoon of Feb. 14, Cruz allegedly went on the
shooting rampage shortly before school was to let out
for the day. He was apprehended about an hour after shots were reported at the

The suspect carried an AR-15
rifle and had “countless magazines,” Broward County Sheriff Scott
Israel said. He also told reporters that of the 17 fatalities, “12 people died
in the school, two were killed outside the school, one died on the street and
another two died at the hospital.” Several others were transported to the
hospital. Details about the shooter’s motive were still being pieced together.

Broward County Superintendent
Robert Runcie called it “a horrific situation. It is a horrible day for
us.” Florida Gov. Rick Scott said, “This is just absolutely pure

Pope Francis was “deeply
saddened to learn of the tragic shooting,” Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican
secretary of state said in telegram he sent to Archbishop Wenski on behalf of
the pope. “He prays that Almighty God may grant eternal rest to the dead and
healing and consolation to the wounded and those who grieve.”

“We are deeply saddened by
the shootings in Broward County, Florida, and by the needless and tragic loss
of life,” Cardinal DiNardo said in his statement. “May the mercy of God comfort
the grieving families and sustain the wounded in their healing.

“Catholics and many other
Christians have begun the journey of Lent today,” he said. “I encourage us to
unite our prayers and sacrifices for the healing and consolation of all those
who have been affected by violence in these last weeks and for a conversion of
heart, that our communities and nation will be marked by peace. I pray also for
unity in seeking to build toward a society with fewer tragedies caused by
senseless gun violence.”

Archbishop Wenski added in his
statement: “This Ash Wednesday, we begin our Lenten Season that calls us to
penance and conversion. With God’s help, we can remain strong and resolute to
resist evil in all its manifestations.”

– – –

Copyright © 2018 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

Original Article