A letter from Chicago Archbishop Blase Cupich expressing solidarity with the Catholic gay and lesbian community in that city, following the mass shooting in Orlando, was read prior to a Sunday night mass for the lay organization AGLO (Archdiocesan Gay and Lesbian Outreach).
Addressing the group as “Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,” Cupich wrote: “For you here today and throughout the whole lesbian and gay community, who are particularly touched by the heinous crimes committed in Orlando, motivated by hate, driven perhaps by mental instability and certainly empowered by a culture of violence, know this: the Archdiocese of Chicago stands with you. I stand with you.
“Let our shared grief and our common faith in Jesus, who called the persecuted blessed, unite us so that hatred and intolerance are not allowed to flourish, so that those who suffer mental illness know the support of a compassionate society, so that we find the courage to face forthrightly the falsehood that weapons of combat belong anywhere in the civilian population.”
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According to a statement on the organization’s website, AGLOChicago was founded in 1988 “through the efforts of several members of Chicago LGBT community working together” with the late Cardinal Joseph Bernardin “to provide a ministry of outreach.”
Cupich’s letter to the gay and lesbian community gathered for mass was separate from an earlier statement the archbishop released decrying the violence against gays and lesbians in Orlando, as well as the ongoing gun violence in the United States. “The people of the Archdiocese of Chicago stand with the victims and their loved ones and reaffirm our commitment, with Pope Francis, to address the causes of such tragedy, including easy access to deadly weapons," Cupich said. "We can no longer stand by and do nothing."