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USCCB president says violence calls for 'moment of national reflection'


  • A sign is displayed during an interfaith prayer vigil in Thanksgiving Square in Dallas July 8. The prior evening a gunman shot and killed five police officers and wounded seven during a peaceful protest in downtown Dallas. The protest was in reaction to two black men being fatally shot by police officers in Baton Rouge, La., and a suburb of St. Paul, Minn. (CNS photo/Erik Lesser, EPA)
  • A Dallas Police Department badge worn by an office is covered by a black band during an interfaith prayer vigil in Thanksgiving Square in Dallas July 8. The prior evening gunmen shot and killed five police officers and wounded seven during a peaceful protest in downtown Dallas. The protest was in reaction to two black men being fatally shot by police officers in Baton Rouge, La., and a suburb of St. Paul, Minn. (CNS photo/Erik Lesser, EPA)
  • A woman prays during an interfaith prayer vigil in Thanksgiving Square in Dallas July 8. The prior evening a gunman shot and killed five police officers and wounded seven during a peaceful protest in downtown Dallas. The protest was in reaction to two black men being fatally shot by police officers in Baton Rouge, La., and a suburb of St. Paul, Minn. (CNS photo/Erik Lesser, EPA)
  • Bishop Kevin J. Farrell of the Diocese of Dallas speaks during an interfaith prayer vigil at Thanksgiving Square in Dallas July 8. The prior evening a gunman shot and killed five police officers and wounded seven during a peaceful protest in downtown Dallas. The protest was in reaction to two black men being fatally shot by police officers in Baton Rouge, La., and a suburb of St. Paul, Minn. (CNS photo/Rebecca Kirstin Patton, The Texas Catholic)
  • People pray during an interfaith prayer vigil in Thanksgiving Square in Dallas July 8. The prior evening a gunman shot and killed five police officers and wounded seven during a peaceful protest in downtown Dallas. The protest was in reaction to two black men being fatally shot by police officers in Baton Rouge, La., and a suburb of St. Paul, Minn. (CNS photo/Erik Lesser, EPA)
  • FBI investigators look over the crime scene in Dallas July 8 where police officers were shot during a protest the previous evening. A snipers shot and killed five police officers and wounded seven more at a July 7 demonstration to protest the police killing of black men in Baton Rouge, La., and a suburb of St. Paul, Minn. Two civilians also were injured in Dallas. (CNS photo/Carlo Allegri, Reuters)

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WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The shooting of police officers July 7 near the end of a demonstration in Dallas against fatal shootings by police officers in Baton Rouge and Minneapolis earlier in the week "calls us to a moment of national reflection," said the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

"To all people of goodwill, let us beg for the strength to resist the hatred that blinds us to our common humanity," said Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, in a July 8 statement.

The archbishop described the sniper attack on the Dallas police officers "an act of unjustifiable evil."

He said the "police are not a faceless enemy" but people offering their lives to protect others. He also noted "the suspects in crimes or routine traffic stops are not just a faceless threat" but members of families in "need of assistance, protection and fairness."

"When compassion does not drive our response to the suffering of either, we have failed one another," Archbishop Kurtz said.

He said the tragic shootings are reminders of the need to "place ever greater value on the life and dignity of all persons, regardless of their station in life" and hoped that in days people would look to ways of having open, honest and civil dialogue on issues of race relations, restorative justice, mental health, economic opportunity, and addressing the question of pervasive gun violence."

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