Pope Francis said his "heart is broken" after 19 children and two teachers died in a shooting at a Texas elementary school this week.
The pope on Wednesday during his general audience said he is “praying for the children and adults who were killed, and for their families.”
“It is time to say enough to the indiscriminate trafficking of arms,” he added. “Let us all commit ourselves so that such tragedies can never happen again.”
All of the children killed in the shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas on Tuesday were fourth graders. The two teachers who were killed in the shooting have been identified as Eva Mireles and Irma Garcia.
It is not the first time Pope Francis has addressed mass shootings in the United States. For example, following multiple back-to-back shootings in 2019, the pope told an audience of thousands at St. Peter’s Square, “I am spiritually close to the victims of the violence that have bloodied Texas, California and Ohio, in the United States, striking defenseless people.”
President Joe Biden in remarks after the Tuesday shooting referenced his own experience with loss. The president lost his first wife, Neilia, and daughter, Naomi, in a car accident in 1972, in addition to his son, Beau, to brain cancer in 2015.
Biden on Tuesday said “to lose a child is like having a piece of your soul ripped away."
“There’s a hollowness in your chest, you feel like you’re being sucked into it," he said, in addition to calling on lawmakers to take action and “stand up to the gun lobby.”
Joe Donnelly, the U.S. ambassador to the Vatican, said in a statement on Twitter on Wednesday “We are witnessing a sickness, and the face of evil. We continue to pray for these blessed children and other wonderful people who were killed and their families. We are crushed by this loss.”
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Pope Francis addresses Texas school shooting after kids, teachers die