Bishop Flores on Texas Elementary School Shooting: ‘Don’t Tell Me That Guns Aren’t the Problem’

Among the victims were 10-year-old students in the fourth grade.

Bishop Daniel Flores of Brownsville delivers the St. Thomas Day Lecture at Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paul, Calif., Jan. 28, 2019.
Bishop Daniel Flores of Brownsville delivers the St. Thomas Day Lecture at Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paul, Calif., Jan. 28, 2019. (photo: Courtesy photo / TAC)

SAN ANTONIO, Texas — Bishop Daniel Flores said on Wednesday that he was sick of hearing people say that “guns aren’t the problem” after a gunman killed at least 19 children and two teachers at a Texas elementary school.

“We sacralize death’s instruments and then are surprised that death uses them,” the bishop of Brownsville, Texas, wrote on Twitter on May 25, the day after the shooting.

Don’t tell me that guns aren’t the problem, people are. I’m sick of hearing it. The darkness first takes our children who then kill our children, using the guns that are easier to obtain than aspirin. We sacralize death’s instruments and then are surprised that death uses them.

— Amigo de Frodo (@bpdflores) May 25, 2022

“Don’t tell me that guns aren’t the problem, people are. I’m sick of hearing it. The darkness first takes our children who then kill our children, using the guns that are easier to obtain than aspirin,” Bishop Flores said.

It was one of many responses from Catholic bishops around the U.S. after an 18-year-old gunman opened fire at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, about 80 miles west of San Antonio. Among the victims were 10-year-old students in the fourth grade. 

Cardinal Seán O’Malley of Boston was one of the bishops who took to social media to share his reaction to “the unthinkable loss of so many innocent young lives.”

“Our nation has too often become a place of unspeakable crimes of gun violence that have taken far too many lives, though none more heartbreaking than innocent children. We must take action to stop this senseless carnage,” Cardinal O’Malley said.

“We pray for the grieving families and the Uvalde community, whose lives are forever changed. In this moment we embrace them with prayers for peace and healing as we commend to the Lord those lost, consoled by the promise of eternal life,” the cardinal wrote on Twitter.

Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago published a long thread on Twitter, highlighting how parents at the Uvalde elementary school faced “a delay in identifying the victims — such was the extent of the damage done to these children’s bodies by the killer’s weapons.”

Cardinal Cupich shared statistics on the uptick in gun violence in the U.S. in 2020 and noted that the National Rifle Association’s annual meeting is scheduled to take place in Texas this week.

He wrote: “As I reflect on this latest American massacre, I keep returning to the questions: Who are we as a nation if we do not act to protect our children? What do we love more: our instruments of death or our future?”

“The Second Amendment did not come down from Sinai. The right to bear arms will never be more important than human life. Our children have rights too. And our elected officials have a moral duty to protect them,” Cardinal Cupich said.

Other U.S. bishops focused their social media responses on praying for the victims and their families.

Bishop Thomas Tobin of Providence wrote: “I join my fervent prayers to those of many others for the victims of the horrible shooting at the school in Uvalde, Texas. May God grant eternal peace to those who died and as much consolation as possible in this dark hour to their families and loved ones.”

Archbishop José Gómez of Los Angeles said: “May Our Lady of Guadalupe take the victims of this violence in her tender arms, and bring comfort to those who mourn, and healing those who are hurt. And may God grant peace to every heart that is troubled tonight. We ask this in Jesus’ name.”

Pope Francis told pilgrims in St. Peter’s Square on May 25: “My heart is broken for the massacre at the elementary school in Texas.”

“It is time to say enough to the indiscriminate trafficking of weapons. Let us all work hard so that such tragedies can never happen again,” the Pope said.