In an exclusive interview with CNA, the archbishop of Denver Charles J. Chaput, OFM Cap., discussed his reaction to the shootings in Colorado, which ended in Colorado Springs’ New Life Church with four victims and their killer dead.
When asked if the shootings are a reflection of anything in the larger American society, Archbishop Chaput said the events should teach Americans to be less self-centered. “We can't as a country stay on our course of self-absorption, callousness toward the poor and weak, and consumer excess, and then pretend to be shocked when people lose their balance and lash out violently. The farther away we get from our religious and moral identity, the fewer constraints we have on our choices and behaviors. Violence happens when we lack the interest and conscience to understand the damage we can do to others. That's the kind of society we're building.”
The archbishop said he had written to the pastor of New Life Church in Colorado Springs and to the pastor of Faith Bible Chapel, the Arvada church whose campus hosts the Youth With a Mission dormitory where the shootings began. He said he assured the pastors of his support and prayers.
CNA asked Archbishop Chaput how the Catholic Church could help those who demonstrate the capacity to commit such shootings.
“I'm not sure there's any reliable way of identifying these killers in advance, but a tragedy like this reminds all of us to notice the environment around us. It's important to notice the troubled persons around us and to make them known to medical and, if necessary, law enforcement authorities,” the archbishop replied.
Archbishop Chaput especially addressed the grieving families of the shooting victims.
“The one great advantage these families have is their faith in Jesus Christ. That doesn't ease the pain of these terrible events, but it provides them with the sure hope of seeing their loved ones again in the presence of God.”
“I know that Catholics across Colorado are joining their prayers to the prayers of these families,” he said.