More than 70 Episcopal bishops working to curtail relaxed gun laws in the US have said that the nation must 'make amends' and called on elected representatives to be replaced if they are not up to protecting the people.
Bishops United Against Gun Violence released a statement yesterday condemning the gun attack on the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, which left at least 26 people dead and many more wounded, including children, on Sunday.
In their statement reported by the Church Times, Bishops United Against Gun Violence said: 'As a nation, we must acknowledge that we idolize violence, and we must make amends. Violence of all kinds denigrates humankind; it stands against the will of God and the way of Jesus the Christ.
'The shooting in Sutherland Springs brings the issue of domestic violence, a common thread in many mass killings, into sharp relief. It is not only essential that we keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers, but that we, as a society, reject ideologies of male dominance that permeate our culture and the history of our churches.
'Each of us has a role to play in our repentance. Elected representatives bear the responsibility of passing legislation that protects our citizenry. If our representatives are not up to this responsibility, we must replace them.'
The statement came before Pope Francis today expressed how he was 'deeply grieved by news of the loss of life and grave injuries' caused by the shooting.
In a telegram signed by the Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Pope condemned the 'senseless violence' and offered his 'heartfelt condolences' to the families of the victims and wounded, members of the congregation and the local community.
He closed the letter, addressed to Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller, Archbishop of San Antonio, by praying that the Lord would 'console all who mourn and to grant them the spiritual strength that triumphs over violence and hatred by the power of forgiveness, hope and reconciling love'.
Donald Trump has claimed that the Sutherland Springs shooting was 'not a guns situation'.