NZ Catholic Bishops releases statement one year after Christchurch shootings
The New Zealand Catholic Bishops' Committee for Interfaith Relations has issued a letter addressing the tragic terrorist attack on two mosques in Christchurch one year ago.
The committee has issued the letter in hope of peace and urged to maintain and develop interreligious dialogue and harmony.
Focusing on common values, the statement says that a “beautiful concept is foundational in all religions, and in our shared Abrahamic tradition it is richly expressed through words such as Salaam and Shalom.”
“If we allow it, the call to peace divides and draws not only our thoughts and actions towards non-violence, but also our hearts and prayers towards God”, the document notes.
Drawing attention on co-operation and joint prayer together with Muslims, the statement urges to call on God “to support us in sharing each other’s burdens, and to give us strength and courage to stand up against oppression and justice.”
The Bishops of New Zealand expressed their solidarity to the relatives of the victims of the attack and praying “for our world and all its peoples that we abandon a fixation with that which divides and embrace that which nurtures and blesses each of us.”
“God help us reach out in love and kindness, to support us in sharing each other’s burdens, to give us strength and courage to stand up against oppression and injustice.”
“You are our friend. We do not need to be the same, we can be incredibly diverse – whether through religion, language, origin or body – but we are called to live as brothers and sisters. Difference is not a barrier, it is how we are made and we are made in the image of God”, the statement notes.
On 15 March, 2019, a middle-aged gunman with radical extremist views opened fire on two mosques in Christchurch, killing 50 people and injuring many others.
See the full statement here.
Photo: Steve Miller/VOA / Public domain