How should Catholics react to the tragedy in Orlando? I’m sure some of you think the answer should be obvious, but many of you have probably been asking yourselves this very question. Aren’t Catholics like anti-gay or something? In reality, the Church, like Christ, isn’t anti-anyone. Take one look at Catholic social teaching, and you’ll see that the entire outlook of the Church stems from human dignity and the right to life. That said, tragedies like this should upset you. They should upset all of us.
The LGBT community didn’t bring this upon themselves. God didn’t make this happen. And religion isn’t the cause. One person decided to do something horrendous that violated the sanctuary of the nightclub where it occurred, the sanctuary of the city of Orlando (for the second time in as many days), and the sanctuary of our country. I’ve seen many people discussing how nothing feels safe anymore because if it can happen in a random Orlando nightclub, who’s to say it can’t happen here, there, or anywhere? But when life in the womb (what should be the safest place, shielded from the troubles of the world) isn’t protected, how can we feel safe anywhere?
So how should we react? What should we do? The answer is simple. We need to recognize the dignity of EVERY human being, whether they share our beliefs or not. We need to respect EVERY life—from conception to natural death. This doesn’t simply mean allowing people to live. It means to allow people to be LOVED… by us. Jesus didn’t take people in with conditions. He didn’t show people love or offer them healing as long as they followed His teachings. He just loved and healed them. It was the encounter with Christ that changed the most famous sinners of the Gospel. Let’s be Christ to someone else. Today’s Gospel reading says: “If you love those who love you, what recompense will you have?” (Matthew 5:46) That’s too easy. We’re called to more. So how should we react? With love. -Jason