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Pope prays for Texas shooting victims, calls for stricter gun laws

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VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Saying his heart was broken at the news of at least 19 children and two adults being shot and killed at a Texas elementary school, Pope Francis said it was time to say “Enough!” and enact stricter laws on gun sales.

Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller of San Antonio comforts people outside the SSGT Willie de Leon Civic Center, where students had been transported from Robb Elementary School after a shooting, in Uvalde, Texas, May 24, 2022. (CNS photo/Marco Bello, Reuters)

At the end of his weekly general audience May 25, with thousands of people gathered in St. Peter’s Square, the pope prayed publicly for the victims of the shooting the day before at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.

“With a heart shattered over the massacre at the elementary school in Texas, I pray for the children and adults who were killed and for their families,” the pope told the crowd.

“It is time to say, ‘Enough!’ to the indiscriminate trafficking of guns,” the pope said. “Let’s all work to ensure that such tragedies never happen again.”

Shortly before the audience, Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller of San Antonio, an archdiocese that includes Uvalde, tweeted: “Holy Father Pope Francis, say some prayers for the souls of our little ones killed today and two teachers. Uvalde is in mourning. The families are having a very dark time. Your prayer will do good to them.”

Local authorities said the children and adults were killed by an 18-year-old student from a high school nearby. He also was reported dead and at least three children remained hospitalized for injuries suffered in the attack.

Bishop Michael W. Fisher issued a statement after hearing the news.

“Today’s horrific tragedy at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde Texas – robbing young lives and a devoted educator of their future and inflicting immeasurable grief on their loved ones – echoes the despicable act that has devastated Buffalo. As a nation, we have hard and urgent questions to answer. How much more can we take of such random violence and the callous disregard for human life? When and how will we end the scourge of gun violence in our communities – our grocery stores and schools? Our hearts ache for the loss that the community of Uvalde has suffered today, even as we continue to pray and strive for the comfort and healing of our own.”

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