In Wake of DC Tragedy, Cardinal Calls for Love

While celebrating a Mass for consolation and healing after the tragic shooting of 13 people in the Washington Navy Yard, Cardinal Donald Wuerl urged the faithful to recommit themselves to building the “culture of love” and to pray for “whatever it is that fostered such a culture of violence” in our society.

The National Catholic Register (NCR) is reporting on the Mass which took place yesterday at St. Matthew’s Cathedral in downtown Washington DC. Cardinal Wuerl of the Archdiocese of Washington was the main celebrant of the Mass which was offered for “consolation and healing” after Monday’s shooting at the headquarters of the Naval Sea Systems Command in Washington, DC.

Thirteen people were killed when 34 year-old Aaron Alexis, a military contractor from Texas, opened fire on a cafeteria full of people, killing 12, injuring 14, and losing his own life in the process.

“Death came suddenly and in an unexpected manner to those at work at the Navy Yard,” the Cardinal said in his homily. “It is a reminder to all of us that we know not the day nor the hour of death’s visitation. Jesus calls us always to walk in a way that we can go to meet him when that moment comes. Thus, in the long and ancient Tradition of the Church, we pray, asking God’s mercy on the souls of those who died so violently yesterday.”

He went on to say that “the heart of violence is the recognition that something is wrong, that sin still persists in our world. Our prayer for healing is offered as well for whatever it is that fostered such a culture of violence, a culture of death.”

Speaking to a congregation described by NCR’s Charlotte Hays as being “unusually large and somber” the Cardinal reminded the faithful that the Church calls us to love another.

“Only love can conquer violence,” he said. “Only love supersedes and is victorious, even over death. Somehow we need, once again, in our country, in our land, in our nation, to foster that healing that comes only when we recognize that there is a right and a wrong, that we are not free to kill.”

He concluded with an exhortation to embrace Blessed John Paul II’s vision of a “civilization of love.”

“We are capable of building that civilization of love, of extending and manifesting in our world God’s kingdom of peace, truth, justice, kindness, compassion, understanding.”

It begins with the change of human hearts, he said, “and it is for that reason we pray today, not only for consolation for those who mourn, but for healing, the healing that peacemakers and those who hunger and thirst for justice bring to our world.”

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