Archbishop Robert Rivas has called for respect for others, in the aftermath of the mass murder in Orlando, Florida.
On June 12, 2016, a gunman killed 49 people and injured 53 others inside Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, United States.
It was the deadliest mass shooting by a single gunman in US history.
“In any community in society today, whether it is gay, religious or whatever, the first principle of behavior must be respect,” the head of the Saint Lucia Catholic Church asserted.
Rivas stated that if there is respect and people live by the golden rule of doing to others as they would like others to do to them, there would be no place for violence.
He asserted that there was need for respect even when there are differences.
According to the Archbishop, respect does not mean acceptance of the way other people behave or the things they advocate.
He indicated that there was no need to become violent against anyone or any group.
Rivas said there must be a forum for conversation, discussion and deliberation.
He cited Pope Francis as being a good example.
Rivas observed that the Pope has really struggled and battled with new moral issues.
He explained that the Pontiff is trying to give responses that are compassionate, kind, understanding and caring
“It does not mean he accepts everything that is happening in society or every group that manifests itself, but he is saying there must be a point of respecting people,” the Archbishop explained.
He observed that the Pope has said that a distinction must be made between people who have an orientation and those who act out that orientation.
Rivas noted that if a moral judgement is to be made, it must be based on an act – whether the act is right or wrong.
“We can’t go around killing people because they are gay or because they are violent – for example, when you come to a thing like capital punishment,” Rivas said.
He observed that people think life for life will solve everything.
“It has been proved that life for life does not work,” the head of the local Catholic Church declared.
He expressed the view that when a life is taken, the solution is not revenge, retaliation or the destruction of another life.
According to Rivas, there must be a way that involves charity, mercy and respect for life.