Chicago Archbishop Blase Cupich has decried the apparent targeting of gays and lesbians in the Orlando nightclub massacre and called for greater efforts on gun control, the first senior U.S. Catholic churchman to identify a likely reason the victims were singled out and raise the controversial issue of access to weapons.
“Our prayers and hearts are with the victims of the mass shooting in Orlando, their families and our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters,” Cupich said in a statement issued Sunday afternoon (June 12).
His comments came as details emerged about the early morning attack by a Florida man — a Muslim who pledged loyalty to the extremist Islamic State group — that left 50 dead and more than 50 injured.
It was the largest mass shooting in U.S. history and the worst terror attack since the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001.
“In response to hatred, we are called to sow love. In response to violence, peace. And, in response to intolerance, tolerance,” Cupich said.
Cupich, whose city faces a scourge of gun violence, also raised the issue of gun control.