I write with profound sadness in response to the racist, terrorist attack against Muslims in their place of worship in Christchurch, New Zealand. I was at meetings in Washington, D.C. when these terrible events occurred, and all involved have been in my heart, mind and prayer. I echo the sentiment of our Holy Father Pope Francis who prayed for healing of the injured, consolation of those who grieve the loss of loved ones, and for all affected by the tragedy. Our hearts also go out to our Muslim neighbors here at home. I think especially of my friendships with so many members of the Orange County Muslim community. These friendships have been great personal blessings since my first days here, now approaching seven years ago. I am praying for all my Muslim friends and colleagues. I hope you join me.
We must stand together against the racism and xenophobia that at times seems to be taking greater hold throughout the world and, yes, here in the U.S. As Catholics, we join with all people of faith in denouncing this ideology and the senseless acts of violence which flow from it. We pray instead that as we consider fellow members of the human family we would stand together in heartfelt solidarity and a resolve to give ourselves to the love and mercy of God.
In the spirit of joining our prayer with the local church in solidarity with all those affected in Christchurch, New Zealand, I have included below the statement from the New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference:
Dear Members of the Muslim community in Aotearoa New Zealand,
We hold you in prayer as we hear the terrible news of violence against Muslims at mosques in Christchurch. We are profoundly aware of the positive relationships we have with Islamic people in this land, and we are particularly horrified that this has happened at a place and time of prayer. We are deeply saddened that people have been killed and injured, and our hearts go out to them, their families and wider community. We wish you to be aware of our solidarity with you in the face of such violence.
- Patrick Dunn, Bishop of Auckland
- Charles Drennan, Bishop of Palmerston North
- John Dew, Cardinal Archbishop of Wellington
- Paul Martin, Bishop of Christchurch
- Steve Lowe, Bishop of Hamilton
- Michael Dooley, Bishop of Dunedin