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After police officer’s shooting death, Cardinal Cupich urges ‘commitment to protecting life’

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by Christine Rousselle

Chicago, Ill., Aug 11, 2021 / 18:00 pm

Blase Cardinal Cupich of Chicago condemned Wednesday the rising levels of gun violence in the city of Chicago and called for prayers after one police officer was shot and killed, and another was injured.

“Saturday night, members of the Chicago Police Department’s Community Safety Team stopped a vehicle for an expired license plate. Soon after, Officer Ella French, just 29 years old, was shot and killed by one of the occupants of the civilian vehicle,” Cardinal Cupich said in a statement released by the archdiocese Aug. 11.

Cardinal Cupich noted that another officer was wounded and is still in critical condition, adding, “we pray for him, for his family and friends, just as we pray for Officer French and her family and friends, as they cope with the terrible reality that their loved one was taken from them in another act of senseless violence.”

“We can only imagine their pain, as we hold them in prayer and stand with them and all first responders who risk their safety every day to protect our communities and keep the peace,” he said.

The cardinal then called for “common-sense gun-reform laws, such as universal background checks and crackdowns on straw purchases.” The gun used to kill French, according to federal officials, was obtained via an illegal straw purchase in nearby Indiana.

“The degree to which we take seriously the epidemic of gun violence will be measured by the effort we put into ridding our streets of illegal guns and weapons of war,” said Cardinal Cupich. He said that failing to enact these reforms “is a day we fail as a society to uphold the value of human life.”

And while “committing acts of violence against the innocent can never be excused,” Cardinal Cupich says that these acts do “not mean we are released from the responsibility to understand why such violence plagues our city and our nation.”

Cardinal Cupich called not only for “acts of remote charity,” which he described as making social media posts and donations, but also “proximate charity,” such as distributing food to the needy and going out into the community. These acts will help with “building up the common good and redressing systemic injustice.”

“There is no denying it: this has been a season of senselessness in Chicago, with gun violence rising and mass shootings becoming a regular occurrence,” said the cardinal. “But we can never allow ourselves to become numb in the face of injustice, no matter how crushingly common it seems.”

There is a need to awaken the population from a “zombified state of polarization” and come together for a common cause, out of the “silos of politics, culture, and even religion,” said Cardinal Cupich. These divisions are “not what God wants for his family.”

“God sees with the eyes of a loving parent,” he said. “Even when we are beset by grief, feeling utterly alone, on the precipice of despair, God never abandons us, because we are his children, all of us.”

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