Bishop Parkes Issues a Statement on Shooting at Tree of Life Synagogue

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I am heartbroken and saddened by the horrific shooting that occurred at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh. Please know that the Catholic community stands in solidarity with our Jewish brothers and sisters. An attack on one faith community is an attack on all communities of faith. I pray for the victims of this callous act of violence and for the grieving families.

While this evil act has shattered innocent lives, it has also strengthened our resolve to condemn all acts of violence and hate. Let us call on all families, communities and people from every race, religion and creed to build a culture of mutual respect for all people regardless of our differences. Let us focus on our common humanity as children of God and put an end to violence in all its forms. We should offer no safe harbor for hatred and intolerance in our communities, and I pray to God to give us strength and will to quell our nation’s divisive rhetoric.

We pray for you and with you. May God’s comfort and love be a source of peace as you move forward to find healing.

— Bishop Gregory Parkes

PDF is available for download here.

Below are some other statements of solidarity and outrage over this senseless and evil act.

Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, President, of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops issued this statement shortly after the violence erupted:

“To our brothers and sisters of the Jewish community, we stand with you. We condemn all acts of violence and hate and yet again, call on our nation and public officials to confront the plague of gun violence. Violence as a response to political, racial, or religious differences must be confronted with all possible effort. God asks nothing less of us. He begs us back to our common humanity as His sons and daughters.

I commend to our Lord the victims, including first responders, and for the consolation of their families. May Almighty God be with them and bring them comfort at this tragic time.”

Pope Francis issued this statement via Twitter on 10/28/28:

 “We are all hurt by this inhumane act of violence. May the Lord help us extinguish hate, promote respect for life, moral & civic values.”

Saint Leo University issued this statement:

The Saint Leo University Center for Catholic-Jewish Studies (CCJS) condemns the antisemitic massacre at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, that occurred on October 27th, 2018. We are horrified by this mass shooting within a sacred place of worship, which represents the deadliest attack upon the Jewish community in the history of the United States. The attack is an assault on our Jewish brothers and sisters, the American tradition of religious freedom, and our shared human dignity.

We must not remain silent in the face of attacks on our Jewish neighbors, or other religious minorities, and we recall that the Catholic Church condemns discrimination or harassment of any human person because of religion or race. Such attitudes and actions are “foreign to the mind of Christ ( Nostra Aetate 5).” The Church “decries…displays of anti-Semitism directed against Jews by anyone and at any time ( Nostra Aetate 4).” Pope Francis has asserted that the Catholic Church “feels particularly obliged to do all that is possible with our Jewish friends to repel anti-Semitic tendencies.” Indeed, anti-Semitism, according to Saint Pope John Paul II, is a sin against God and humanity.

We send sympathies to the victims and families of those murdered. We encourage all members of the Catholic community to show solidarity with our Jewish neighbors by sending personal messages of support and studying about the danger of antisemitic ideology. We encourage you to make use of educational resources provided by the American Jewish Committee, the Anti-Defamation League, and other Jewish organizations, for discussions in the church, the home, and the classroom. The CCJS is committed to promoting mutual respect, knowledge, and understanding through dialogue, study, and teaching.