The Knights of Columbus and the Seymour Institute for Black Church and Policy Studies sent a letter to religious leaders around the country dated Aug. 30, asking them to advocate for non-violence "to help lead our country away from the precipice of violence and toward a future of honest and open civil discourse and respect for the dignity of each person."
Signers of the letter included Carl Anderson; Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops; Bishop Murry; and Rivers.
The letter's purpose, Anderson said, was to spur "important conversations that will help us find civility in our public discourse and unity as Americans working together for the common good."
Hours before the Monday press conference, a lone gunman killed at least 58 people at a country music concert in Las Vegas, Nev. before killing himself, in the deadliest mass shooting in modern United States history. Stephen Paddock, 64, was armed with machine guns and shot down into the Route 91 Harvest Festival from a high-rise hotel suite.
Religious leaders present at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial decried the act of violence and prayed for the victims and all harmed by the shooting.
"As always in these situations, one finds it hard to say things that don't sound like clichés," Bishop Murry said.
"We have too much violence in our society, and everything we say is beginning to seem tired and repetitive," he said. And although all must commit to non-violence, he said, "something deeper" is needed.
"That commitment requires true conversion. Each of us needs to restore the love that comes with true friendship," he said. "A society should be a community. And unless we recover the sense that we are all in this together, because we are one family, I fear we will not be able to stop the violence trends we are facing."
Leaders also spoke about the need to address systemic racism in U.S. society. Bishop Murry thanked the Knights of Columbus for their efforts in this initiative, saying they "have been a consistent voice for racial equality since they were created."
Anderson noted that there has been "renewed racism by groups like the Ku Klux Klan" lately.
"Today as then, we stand united in the principle that all are created equal, and we reiterate the words of Pope Francis last month, calling for the rejection of violence, all violence, in political life," he said.
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"We believe the way of non-violence is as relevant today as ever."