The tragedy of the past days has called the nation into a period of mourning. We are all deeply affected by the killings in Newtown, Connecticut. Perhaps it was the thought of first graders suffering such brutality, innocent children enduring trauma just before Christmas. Perhaps it was the tragedy of yet another young person losing complete control while suffering from mental illness. Perhaps it is the poignant reminder that every day in urban areas, children are gunned down, often by other children. There is much to mourn, but mourning is not enough. The killing must stop. America is losing its future. Gun regulation is an imperative. Automatic weapons created for the battlefield have no place in the hands of children or adults incapable of taking responsibility for their use. This societal rupture has been going on far too long and demands immediate action by our national leaders. This is not about protecting the second amendment, but rather protecting the most precious resource we have - the gift of life. This is also a time to restore civility to our world and work to change the pervasive culture of violence found throughout this nation, and especially in the entertainment industry.
We call on all LCWR members to stand up and speak out for the sacredness of the lives of these children and all people everywhere. We suggest letting your elected officials at every level of government know that you favor responsible gun legislation. Encourage congressional leaders to support a federal ban on the sale, transfer, importation, and possession of assault weapons and the munitions that go with them. Ask them to fund robust care for those with mental illness as well as take steps to address the growing use of violence as a means of entertainment. Call on your local and state officials to do the same.
We draw your attention as well to a nation-wide effort to remember the 20 children and six adults killed in Newtown. Motherhouses, monasteries, churches, and town halls are being asked to ring their bells 26 times on December 28, the feast of the Holy Innocents, at noon (EST) and pause for a moment of silence to pray for all the families who have lost loved ones. Perhaps your motherhouses and the parishes where your sisters minister would like to join in this effort.
Let us remember that together we can overcome the deep darkness of these times by the radiant light of our own lives and actions.
In hope and with a prayer for all victims of violence,
The Presidency and Staff of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious