New Ways Ministry: Bishops Must Speak Out After Colorado Springs Mass Shooting

The following is a statement from Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry’s Executive Director, regarding the mass shooting at an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs.

New Ways Ministry joins the millions of Catholics in the U.S. and worldwide who mournfully pray over the tragic loss of five lives in the recent shooting at Club Q, an LGBTQ club in Colorado Springs this weekend.  We pray, too, for healing for the 18 injured victims.

While mass shooting events are shocking and painful whenever or wherever they occur, these shootings are more horrifying when perpetrated against people already facing systemic oppression because of factors like race, ethnicity, religion, sexuality, and/or gender identity.

In 2016, when 49 people were killed and 53 more were injured at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, few Catholic bishops spoke out to condemn the tragedy, though many usually do for other violent attacks.  That record is shameful. The Catholic Church’s clear doctrine unconditionally condemns violence against LGBTQ people. Catholic bishops should not hesitate one second to respond to this tragedy.

The Colorado Springs killings impact LGBTQ people everywhere, causing fear to grow in their hearts and erode their lives.  Such violent acts also sadly and sickly encourage other people to continue attacking LGBTQ people, whether through name-calling, ostracization, physical attacks, or murder.

New Ways Ministry calls on every bishop to condemn such violence in all its forms. Such a message can deter future perpetrators, and it also expresses pastoral support to LGBTQ people in their communities. We call on bishops and Catholic leaders to join in the many demonstrations and vigils in support of LGBTQ people which will emerge over the coming weeks.  All Catholics should redouble their efforts to end discrimination against LGBTQ people by supporting equality initiatives and laws.

Every Catholic diocese should have an office that is dedicated to educating people about LGBTQ issues, and that would work to help end hateful attitudes and violence against LGBTQ people. Catholics should provide hope in this moment of crucifixion by raising their voices now and ensuring respect for LGBTQ people is an essential aspect of their pastoral priorities.

Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry, November 21, 2022

10 replies
  1. Adlyn
    Adlyn says:

    Sad moments like this demonstrate so clearly why anti-LGBTQ positions in the Catholic Church are unsustainable. Separating anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and policies from violent acts like this is becoming ever more difficult. Convincing Catholics that one is an act of virtue while the other is a sin of violence is hard to do when both acts are motivated by the exact same sentiments and beliefs.

    Reply
  2. Lindsey Pasquale
    Lindsey Pasquale says:

    The USCCB needs to do more than just speak out. They need to acknowledge how their own words and deeds have contributed to this. Only through that will their be true change. I suppose just speaking out would be a positive first step, though.

    For anyone feeling helpless about this, you are welcome to join PFLAG tonight.
    https://www.facebook.com/events/871392587368792

    Reply
  3. DON E SIEGAL
    DON E SIEGAL says:

    Bishops Must Speak Out After Colorado Springs Mass Shooting

    I know this exhortation is directed to all Catholic Bishops, and in that repsect, I shall ask my local Bishop of Fresno to speak out; although, I do not think that he will. At best, he projects neither a pro- nor an anti-LGBTQ policy.

    The Colorado Catholic Conference consists of the four Catholic Bishops of Colorado: Samuel J. Aquila, Archbishop, Archdiocese of Denver; Jorge H. Rodríguez, Auxiliary Bishop, Archdiocese of Denver; Stephen Berg, Bishop, Diocese of Pueblo; and James R. Golka, Bishop, Diocese of Colorado Springs. Unortunately, all four of these bishops have a strong anti-LGBTQ record. At least one of them, Archbishop Aquila, supports conversion therapy.

    None the less, I feel obligated as an out gay Catholic to politely ask Bishop Golka of Colorado Springs to publicly speak out concerning the Club Q mass shooting.

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  4. Barbara
    Barbara says:

    I agree the Bishops must speak out against any mass shooting as hate crimes and remind the entire population of Catholics and the world wide community that they believe that this is WRONG. Jesus said we have to take care of our Brothers and Sisters which means provide a way of life that represents the Grace/Love of God. No one should be shunned in God’s world. Every one is welcome. Let us pray. Barbara

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  5. Fran Gorsuch
    Fran Gorsuch says:

    Thank you for challenging all of us, bishops included, to speak up and stand up against hate and violence. If we are who we claim to be, and whose we are, we participate in and perpetuate hatred if we do not speak.
    In love and solidarity, Fran

    Reply
  6. John Hilgeman
    John Hilgeman says:

    Thanks for this article, Francis. I just sent an email to the editor of my local Catholic paper, asking them to address this issue. I included a link to this blog, and links to a couple other articles as well.

    Reply
  7. Jim Riley
    Jim Riley says:

    Have any bishops said anything—even one word of condolence—about the Q massacre in Colorado Springs? They were so loose tongued before it occurred almost to the point of acting as a catalyst for hate and homophobia; now silence until they restart their exclusionary engines

    Reply
  8. Duane Sherry
    Duane Sherry says:

    The words and actions of some of the bishops in this Church point to a God who does not love LBGTQ+ people.

    Is there any surprise that some who hear these words and see these actions might construe them to mean that they are not expected to love LBGTQ+ people?

    Afterall, if they are told God does not love LBGTQ+ people, why should they? And if not loving them is okay, why would it not be okay to hate them? And if hating them is okay, why not remain silent when they are injured or killed?

    Afterall, who are they to judge hate and violence toward a God that many of the bishops have created in their own image? God help this Church!

    Mary, our Mother, pray for us.

    – Duane Sherry (he/him)
    Proud dad of a transgender adult

    Reply
  9. Thomas Ellison
    Thomas Ellison says:

    Today is November 22nd. I just looked at the USCCB website. Not a word about this . I will be surprised if they acknowledge this tragedy. Had someone made headlines that the USCCB found useful , it may have been a different reaction. Instead, we get silence. To be silent is to be complicit.

    Reply

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