Society

Baton Rouge Bishop calls for week of prayer and fasting after police shooting

Bishop issues statement after meeting with two of the families “amid their shock, horror and grief”

Baton Rouge Bishop calls for week of prayer and fasting after police shooting

VATICAN CITY — “Prayer is a powerful path to follow when tragedy happens, but even the most devout of us sometime question: ‘What good could come of this?’,” the Bishop Robert Muench of Baton Rouge said on Sunday after  three police officers were killed when a former Marine dressed in black and carrying extra ammunition opened fire on them outside a gas station.

In a powerful statement following the shootings in Baton Rouge, Bishop Muench said: “Only the Word of God has the answer to the questions that shake our faith: The answer is our Lord Jesus Christ. In Jesus, hope ultimately triumphs over despair; love ultimately triumphs over hate; and Resurrection ultimately triumphs over death.”

Three police officers were killed and three others wounded in Baton Rouge on Sunday, the second attack on law enforcement officers in the United States in less than two weeks. On July 7, a gunman in Dallas shot and killed five policemen and wounded nine others, along with two civilians.

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It was not immediately clear whether there was a link between Sunday’s bloodshed and unrest over the police killings of two black men under questionable circumstances earlier this month — Alton Sterling, 37, in Baton Rouge on July 5, and Philando Castile, 32, near St. Paul, Minnesota, on July 6.

In his statement, Bishop Muench renewed his call for “a diocesan-wide week of prayer and fasting as we reflect on the events of the last several days, and as we work toward a lasting peace in our communities.”

Here is the full text of Bishop Robert Muench’s statement:

BISHOP ROBERT MUENCH STATEMENT

Bishop of the Diocese of Baton Rouge
July 17, 2016

Words cannot express the emotions we feel for those who have lost loved ones in the tragic events of this day. Their entire lives have been unexpectedly and terribly turned upside down. In visiting this afternoon with two of the families affected by these shootings, Fr. Tom Ranzino and I shared prayer and support in the midst of their shock, horror and grief. Prayer is a powerful path to follow when tragedy happens, but even the most devout of us sometime question: “What good could come of this?” Only the Word of God has the answer to the questions that shake our faith: The answer is our Lord Jesus Christ. In Jesus, hope ultimately triumphs over despair; love ultimately triumphs over hate; and resurrection ultimately triumphs over death. Standing firmly on the pillars of these eternal truths, we look to his words of promise in the Sermon on the Mount, and we recall two beatitudes that speak to the hope we should hold, especially today: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God,” and “Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted” (Mt. 5: 9, 4). We renew our call for a diocesan-wide week of prayer and fasting as we reflect on the events of the last several days, and as we work toward a lasting peace in our communities.

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