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January 9, 2011

Catholic Democrats condemns violence, after shooting of Rep Giffords and 17 others in Arizona

Boston, MA - Catholic Democrats is offering our heartfelt condolences and prayers to the families of the six people who were killed yesterday, and the 12 who were wounded, at an event hosted by Representative Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ). Among those killed were 9 year old Christina Taylor Greene who had recently received her first communion; Gabe Zimmerman, an aide to the Representative; and federal judge John Roll, who had just attended Mass before stopping by to say hello to the Representative, according to news reports. Others whose lives were taken in the abhorrent shooting included Dorwin Stoddard (76), Dorothy Murray (76), and Phyllis Scheck (79). Representative Giffords was critically injured in the shooting.

"Today we mourn all of the victims of this shooting; they are all our neighbors. As an advocate for the poor who strives to give a voice to the voiceless, I know that Congresswoman Giffords and her staff embraced an openness to listen to ALL voices addressed to them, including those most marginalized," said Fr. William Fitzgerald, a member of Catholic Democrats of Arizona. "Hers has always been a moderate and compassionate voice, with unwavering courage amid a clamor of hate and fear inspired rhetoric -- and today violence - in the Arizonan public square. So much of this rancor is directed at immigrants and more recently at their children. We thank God that initial medical reports regarding the congresswoman are hopeful. We mourn the wounding and killing of all the innocents and pray for them and their families and loved ones.

I hope that these events would give us clergy the courage to try to echo the voices of the prophets who pleaded for social justice and healing and Jesus whose very mission statement began: 'I have come to bring good news to the poor,'" said Fr. Fitzgerald.

Catholic Democrats is calling on all Catholics across the country to pray for those who died and their families and pray for the safe recovery of those, including Representative Giffords, who were injured. Additionally, the organization is calling on Catholics in the state of Arizona to come together to bring healing to their community.

"Gabby Giffords has been intensely concerned about the deteriorating political climate in our country, and the escalating lack of respect that we've seen the past two years," said Dr Patrick Whelan, president of Catholic Democrats. "Having spent time over the holidays with Rep Giffords and her husband, I was struck by her unusual empathy for the suffering of those most dispossessed in our increasingly polarized society. Our Catholicism calls us to care for one another, and to resolve our differences in the non-violent spirit of Christ. We call on all people of good will to reflect on this tragedy and commit themselves to bringing back the kind of civic dialogue that eschews angry words and brings people together to solve real problems."

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"Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America: They will be met.

"On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.

"On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn-out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics."

First Inaugural Address, President Barack Obama



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