(Vatican Radio) The gunman who killed six worshippers at Sikh temple in the U.S. was a 40-year-old U.S. Army veteran who trained in psychological warfare before he was demoted and discharged more than a decade ago, and who was active in the white supremacist movement. Two-days after his attack on the suburban Milwaukee temple, investigators say they might never determine the motive for certain.
The chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs expressed the bishops’ prayerful solidarity with the Sikh community in the United States.
“In this time of grief, we Catholics mourn with our Sikh brothers and sisters,” said Bishop Denis Madden, auxiliary bishop of Baltimore. “We share a warm and fruitful friendship, as well as a love of God and a belief in the community of all people, making yesterday’s tragedy all the more painful and difficult to comprehend.”
Bishop Madden added, “The U.S. bishops stand with the Sikh community and reject all violence, particularly violence inflicted out of religious intolerance. We are especially saddened that this horrendous act was carried out in a house of worship against people joined together as a family to worship God. Our prayers are with everyone touched by this, especially those who’ve lost family members and loved ones.”
Sikh groups have complained of intolerance after the 9-11 attacks in 2001, but Bishop Madden told Vatican Radio he thinks the country as a whole is more tolerant than it was a decade ago.
“I think what happened after 9-11 - that Muslims, Sikhs, or anyone that looked like they were from the Middle East, or India, or Pakistan was suspect… - that has greatly diminished over time,” he said.
Listen to the interview by Charles Collins with Bishop Madden: