After Boulder shooting, archbishop calls for ‘conversion of hearts’

Flowers at a fence outside the King Soopers in Boulder, Colorado where a gunman opened fire on March 23, 2021. / Credit: Chet Strange/Getty Images

Boulder, Colorado, Mar 23, 2021 / 02:23 pm (CNA).- Archbishop Samuel Aquila said he is “deeply saddened” by a mass shooting in northern Colorado early this week, and called for conversion of hearts to eradicate violence from society.

“I have been praying for all those impacted by this senseless act of violence and want to express my spiritual closeness to them,” Aquila said in a statement Tuesday.

On Monday, a gunman opened fire at a King Soopers grocery store in Boulder, Colorado, killing 10 people.

One of the victims was police officer Eric Talley, 51, who was among the first to respond to the shooting. Talley, a Catholic, leaves behind a wife and seven children.

Aquila said that Talley “has been described as a man of character and strong faith, a loving father to seven children, a husband who cared deeply for his family, and a soldier for Christ.”

He added that “Officer Talley regularly stopped by St. Martin de Porres [Parish] in Boulder and participated in its events, even though he wasn’t a parishioner there.”

“St. Martin de Porres, the patron of the parish, was someone who experienced tragedy and hardship in his life, and so, we ask for his intercession in these difficult circumstances, that God would bring good out of this great evil,” the archbishop said, promising prayers for Talley’s family.

A funeral for Talley will be celebrated on Monday, March 29 at the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Denver. It will be a solemn high Mass offered in the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite, according to an announcement, which added that capacity may be restricted due to COVID-19 regulations.

Police have arrested 21-year-old Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa in connection with Monday’s shooting, and he has been charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder, Boulder Police said. Officials have not discussed a possible motive for the shooting.

The suspect’s family members say they believe him to be suffering from serious mental illness, including paranoia and delusions, according to media reports.

The Boulder shooting comes less than a week after a gunman in Atlanta killed eight people – including six Asian women – during a series of shootings at three massage parlors in the Atlanta area on March 16.

In his statement, Aquila said that “incidents like this have become far too common in our country and our state.”

“We must work to promote deeper conversion of hearts so that our lives are characterized by the virtue of charity, which allows us to love God and our neighbor, strengthening the fabric of society and preventing senseless acts of violence such as this one.”

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  1. Platitudes that are true and worth heeding — but have proved to be an inadequate response over the years and decades.

    The archbishop needs to take a solid, no-nonsense, vocal stand on gun control, also.

    • Jesus the Christ declared:”For out of the heart come evil thoughts–murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.(Matthew 15:19) One of God’s Moral Laws is “You shall not murder”. As our cultural/society continues to morally decline we can expect more violence…guns, knifes,hatred,prejudice, sexual immoralities/perversions, and slander against one another to increase.

    • My friend, gun control is not the answer. No matter how many gun regulation laws you pass, it still up the individual to determine whether or not mass shootings occur. People with evil intentions will always find a way to inflict harm on others. What really needs reforming are the morals of the American people: not a further restriction of the right to bear arms.

  2. Eternal rest grant unto them, O lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May their souls and all the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, Rest In Peace. Amen

  3. Despite there being no evidence to suggest that racial animus motivated the Atlanta murders, as even the FBI admits, bishops did not hesitate to imply that it was a factor. On the other hand, in the Boulder case, there is plenty that points to the perpetrator being a resentful Islamist who hated Americans, yet Archbishop Aquila won’t bring it up. If the shooter is white, attribute the act of violence to racism even if the victims are white or there is little proof of such animus. If the shooter is not white, still blame white racism, prattle on about the need for gun control or increased mental healthcare services or deplore the generic violence of American society. One must know what the talking points are depending on the circumstances. The US bishops have it down pat!

  4. I first learned about the killing of Officer Jeff Talley from the website (stands for Officer Down Memorial Page). One detail included there and not mentioned in other articles about the killing spree was that Officer Talley’s parents are still alive. My heart goes out to his wife and seven children, but most of all to his parents. It is against the law of nature that parents outlive their children. I cannot imagine their grief. To donate to his family, go to May he rest in peace.

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