On Thursday this week, following a funeral Mass, U. S. Marshalls shot and killed a man in the parking lot of St. James Catholic Church in Douglas, Wyoming.  Local news coverage may be found here.

This is the statement I issued yesterday in light of this tragic event:

At this time, it is our understanding that law enforcement officers were present on Church property following a funeral at St. James and that their intention was to apprehend a family member of the deceased, due to outstanding warrants. Immediately following the funeral Mass, the individual being sought appeared outside of the church, a confrontation ensued, shots were fired and a life was ended.

We are saddened by the untimely loss of life in any circumstance. But the fact that this happened following a funeral liturgy when friends and family members were already grieving and outside of a house of worship, where people seek solace, makes this situation all the more troubling.

Even in the face of growing violence in our culture, we expect as a civil society and encourage as a community of faith, that we make a stronger commitment to peaceful resolutions and enforcement of laws and a demonstration of greater respect for human life and the common good.

It is our hope and prayer as a community for a speedy explanation of the events which led the agency to devise and carry out such a strategy.

In this time, we ask for all people of good will to pray for the Ramirez family and for a greater respect for the dignity and sanctity of human life within our culture and society today.