Hope Tragedy Doesn't Generate "New Prejudice or Violence"
WASHINGTON, D.C., APRIL 20, 2007 (Zenit.org).- The bishops of Korea have expressed their condolences to the American people in the wake of the 32 slayings at Virginia Tech by a native-born Korean.
In a letter sent to Bishop William Skylstad, president of the U.S. episcopal conference, Bishop John Chang Yik of Chuchchon says: "In the name of all our Catholics, we the bishops of Korea wish to express our profound shock and sorrow at the tragic event at Virginia Tech University.
"We ask you kindly to convey our heartfelt condolence and prayers for all the innocent young victims and the wounded, to their families and dear ones, and indeed to all the good people of the United States at this hour of their deep grief."
The 23-year-old killer, Cho Seung-Hui, moved to the United States from South Korea when he was eight. He was also a Virginia Tech student and had a history of mental problems.
"We are particularly pained, as Koreans ourselves, to learn that this incomprehensible, dreadful act of violence was committed by a Korean student," wrote Bishop Chang, who is the president of the Korean episcopal conference.
He added: "But we sincerely hope also that this tragedy does not generate new prejudice or violence among people, but rather be an occasion for all of us today to reflect anew on the suffering of our neighbors and the supreme dignity and value of human life.
"We also hope it moves us to look with a caring heart whether people around us live in isolation and desperation, and embrace them with brotherly love.
"May the risen Lord who vanquished death itself on the cross grant his gift of life and true peace to all the afflicted, as we entrust them to his infinite mercy."
Bishop Skylstad replied, assuring the Korean prelates of his gratitude: "On behalf of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, I want to thank you for your expression of solidarity regarding the recent tragedy at Virginia Tech.
"We share your 'profound shock and sorrow' and join you in prayer for the victims of this terrible tragedy. I am sure that your kind expression of condolence and prayer will help to bring healing to our people.
"I am sharing your message with His Excellency Francis X. DiLorenzo, the Bishop of Richmond, in whose diocese these terrible events unfolded, and will also share it with the wider community in the United States as we grieve this loss."