UVALDE, Texas — Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller, head of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of San Antonio, Texas, on Wednesday called for additional gun regulations following Tuesday’s fatal shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde.
Asked by reporters outside Uvalde High School whether his desire to see governments do more to protect their constituents includes support for tougher gun ownership rules, García-Siller said replied: “Of course! Sure! Because everything that can be related to death and aggression – We have to, we are supposed to promote life, the life of people.
García-Siller, whose religious jurisdiction extends to Catholic parishioners in Uvalde, went on to note that preventing gun violence should be just as urgent for Catholics as opposing abortion.
“It’s people’s lives!” García-Siller said. “We must be consistent in our ethics – at least, as Catholics.”
“If someone who is married has five children – then we are more concerned about who is in the womb?!” He continued. “We are concerned about who is in the womb, and their children, and adults, the elderly, the sick, the incarcerated, the death penalty, human dignity.”
“You, as a human being – we are different people but we have the same dignity,” added García-Siller.
García-Siller was outside of high school after attending a press conference about the school shooting organized by Texas Governor Greg Abbott (right), other elected officials and law enforcement officials.
During the press conference, Abbott decried the idea of responding to the tragedy with additional gun regulations. Instead, he focused on plans to expand access to mental health treatment in the state.
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke, who is challenging Abbott in November, interrupted the press conference to shame Abbott for not advancing tougher gun rules.
But García-Siller, who was scheduled to pray with the families of the children killed on Tuesday, declined to directly criticize Abbott’s stance on gun regulation.
He disagreed with Abbott’s remarks calling the shooter “pure evil.”
“Who has the right to say someone is mean? The action is diabolical,” he said. “But I have no power, not even God-given, to say a person is bad.”
García-Siller argues that the deceased shooter, Salvador Ramos, could obtain God’s forgiveness for his crime.
“God is beyond us,” he says. “His mercy is his name.”