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Council Member Jumaane Williams wants Pope Francis to talk about gun violence during MSG mass

New York City council member Jumaane Williams discusses

New York City council member Jumaane Williams discusses legislation that will be voted on Tuesday, April 28, 2015, at City Hall, designed to create used car price transparency. Right is New York City Council Speaker Melissa Craig Ruttle Photo Credit: Craig Ruttle

Brooklyn Council Member Jumaane Williams hopes the pope will speak about gun violence during his mass at Madison Square Garden on Friday, an issue at the forefront of many New Yorkers' minds.

Williams made the request in a letter to Cardinal Timothy Dolan, which he has been assured was received.

"I think he's speaking about some of the solutions, in any case, and it would be great to link it," Williams told amNewYork yesterday. "Our country deals with gun violence in a way that no other country does. Every day we know that dozens of people will be shot and many will be killed."

Pope Francis has a reputation for addressing controversial political topics and broached the subject of "deadly weapons" during his speech in front of Congress Thrusday. His Holiness said it is our duty to stop the arms trade, noting that it exists for "money that is drenched in blood, often innocent blood."

There have been 836 shootings in the city this year as of Sept. 13, according to NYPD statistics. That is nearly even with last year's 839 shootings for the same time period.

"I think it's great that he even mentioned it," Williams told amNewYork Thursday about Pope Francis' focus on weapons during his congressional address. "I'd like to see him go into a little bit more detail, particularly talk about the inner city violence."

Williams said a lot of what the pope already focuses on, including poverty and homelessness, can connect directly to the issue of gun violence.

Williams said he hopes Pope Francis himself has the opportunity to read the letter, and he has been assured the Archdiocese received it. In the letter, the council member writes about starting a another New Deal that would provide services to "holistically help cure" the city.

A representative from the Archdiocese of New York did not respond to a request for comment.


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