Catholic leaders express grief and solidarity after Quebec mosque attack
By Deborah Gyapong
Canadian Catholic News
Photo Caption: A crowd of people hold candles during a Jan. 30 vigil in support of the Muslim community in Montreal. A lone gunman entered the Quebec Islamic Cultural Center and opened fire Jan. 29, killing at least six men who were praying and injuring 19 more. (CNS photo / Dario Ayala, Reuters)
Catholic leaders have expressed condolences and solidarity in prayer with Canadian Muslims after a shooting at a Quebec mosque.
“I am shocked and deeply saddened at the news of the deadly attack at a Quebec City mosque,” said Archbishop J. Michael Miller, CSB, in a statement. “I send my sincere condolences to members of the Centre Culturel Islamique de Québec, and to Canada's entire Muslim community.”
The Jan. 29 attack killed six and injured many more.
“With Muslims, Catholics revere the faith of Abraham, and with Muslims, we call in prayer on the one, merciful God, asking for comfort and peace at this tragic time,” Archbishop Miller wrote. “Catholics of the Archdiocese of Vancouver join with people of good will across Canada and around the world in denouncing this bloodshed on innocent people gathered in worship at a house of prayer.”
Archbishop Miller said, “The freedom to worship in peace is fundamental to the Canadian way of life.”
The president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) Bishop Douglas Crosby of Hamilton said in a statement, “Such murderous violence is to be condemned in the strongest possible terms.”
“It is a violation of the sanctity of human life; an assault on the right and freedom of the members of all religions to gather and pray in the name of their deepest beliefs; a wound to the peace, order and tranquility of our nation and its communities; and the desecration of a house of prayer and worship,” he said.
“Together with Pope Francis, His Eminence Gérald Cyprien Cardinal Lacroix, Archbishop of Québec and Primate of Canada, I extend condolences and prayers from my brother Bishops as well as from Catholics across Canada to the victims, their families and friends,” he said.
“Muslims are our brothers and sisters, condolences and prayers,” tweeted Cardinal Lacroix, who was in Rome when he heard the news of the shooting at the Islamic Cultural Centre of Quebec in the suburb of Sainte-Foy.
Pope Francis personally expressed his condolences and assurances of prayers to Cardinal Lacroix, who then immediately departed for Quebec.
In a telegram to the Cardinal, signed by the Vatican Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, Pope Francis formally expressed his condolences for the victims.