Bishop David O'Connell, Auxiliary Bishop of Los Angeles, was tragically shot and killed in his home in Hacienda Heights, California on February 18, 2023.
The act of violence sent a shock wave through the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and the broader Church in the U.S. It shook our team at CMN too; Bishop O’Connell was a treasured collaborator, especially in our work to promote restorative justice.
The bishop's murder has reminded many people on a gut level that harm has rippling effects. It disrupts our lives, shakes our faith, and rouses in us an automatic desire for justice.
But what is “justice” when one human life has been irreversibly taken by another? What is “justice” when there is no reclaiming what has been lost?
In a statement on February 18, Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gomez called Bishop O’Connell "a peacemaker." He said the bishop had “a passion for building a community where the sanctity and dignity of every human life was honored and protected."
Making peace. Honoring dignity. These are the principles that have been used to describe Bishop O’Connell’s life.
It begs the question: could these same principles underscore our responses to harm and violence? Could “making peace” and “honoring dignity” become guideposts, marking out the path toward justice?
In the days following this tragedy, please join CMN in praying for Bishop O’Connell, for the person responsible for his death, and for the many people impacted by the loss of this shepherd of our Church.
We ask God to guide us toward the “peacemaking” kind of justice that Bishop O’Connell himself worked to build — a justice that unwaveringly upholds human dignity and models Jesus’ healing and reconciling way.