People hiding under dead bodies. Cell phones ringing whose owners will never answer them again. A son texting his mother as he waited for inevitable death.

The scenes of the 49 dead in Sunday’s Orlando gay nightclub shooting seem to have sparked just about every political debate. But the blood cries out for a renewed sense of common humanity.

For as long as I live, I can’t imagine that I will ever forget New York City after the September 11th attacks. Votive candles in the streets. Open churches. Applause for emergency responders, wherever in the city they eventually turned up, often with that dust that wafted into many of our office and home windows, smelling an awful lot like barbecue.

On that Friday, when President George W. Bush famously showed up at Ground Zero with a bullhorn of support and encouragement and resolve even as any hope of rescue efforts had come to an end, I stood across from Central Station on a closed 42nd street as New Yorkers – New Yorkers (I emphasize the term, as one born and bred, who knows we’re not always known for the best of America) – applauded the president as he passed by.

Something terrible had happened, and, even if it were just for a moment or two, we were taking a deep breath – grieving with those who lost loved ones, reconfiguring our false views of our own security, both personal and national, and even hoping for clear and courageous national leadership.

It may have been short-lived – and wasn’t entirely the universal reaction, of course — but it made room for the possibility of some healing, if even for only a few days.

Instead of a coming together in the wake of the worst mass shooting in the United States, hearts seem to be hardening this week in the wake of the evil perpetrated in Orlando early Sunday morning.

Instead, in the air – on the airwaves, on social media, in our political discourse – is an assumption that traditional Christian teaching about men, women, and human sexuality, of the kind the Catholic Church proposes, creates a culture where such violence is encouraged.

Such derision is a lie (that, for one, misses that we Christians are all sinners; the reason we need the Savior!) which only works to exacerbate tension and squash opportunities to actually experience renewal toward nurturing a “civilization of love” of the kind St. John Paul II, for one, perhaps most famously, urged.

Such a cycle of blame may fuel a tyrannical impulse to drive people of traditional religious beliefs out of the public square, and unable to operate – or even to speak – freely according to their consciences.

Sunday’s horrific bloodbath was the biggest terrorist attack on U.S. soil since 9/11.  Whatever the gunman’s myriad, complicated motivations, the so-called Islamic State, which is an existential threat to Christians and other minorities in areas of the Middle East, has proudly taken credit for his work.

That’s hatred. And while I won’t add to the roster of people armchair psychoanalyzing the deceased, it is safe to say that the radicalization militant Islamists are selling today is attractive to people who find themselves somewhat lost in Western cultures that are losing all sense of rational bearings.

I read one news story about the Catholic Charities workers on the ground. According to the Catholic News Service story, more than half of those who were murdered were Hispanic, some of them immigrants with family outside of the country. Catholic Charities workers are helping people as they grieve, communicating with family far away, and meeting other basic needs at such a devastating time.

This is the Beatitudes at work. This is sowing peace.

As I write, there remains some confusion over why the gunman did what he did. Was it radical Islam? Was it mental illness? Was he actually a frequenter of the club, living in struggle and denial about a secret life? Was it a combination of these things?

Our response, beyond the initial shock, is not entirely dependent on knowing what might be of prurient interest for most of us. Now is the time for prayers of mourning, solidarity in weeping, and a newfound commitment to living together that softens the anger and resentment, pain and shame that exacerbates anxiety and fear.

When Pope Francis frequently talks about weeping for your brother who is suffering, it is precisely the scenes we are watching and the hidden pain that leads to them he is talking about. These are the responses to evil we need more of. These are responses to evil the Church teaches.

On Tuesday, HarperCollins publishes a book called It’s Dangerous to Believe by Mary Eberstadt, which makes the case that liberal progressivism is a rival religion to leading Abrahamic faiths. In one chapter, she lays out how this reality has presented unnecessary challenges to faith-based charities whose leaders have found themselves facing government mandates that would have them violate their consciences, the heart and soul of their mission.

“Exhibit A,” of course, is the Little Sisters of the Poor’s Supreme Court-level clash with the Obama administration over a health-care law regulation.

Eberstadt’s “Exhibit B” is the American Civil Liberties Union suing Catholic hospitals because they do not perform abortions and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops over contraception and abortion not being offered at shelters on the border.

About the latter, Eberstadt writes: “This is a particularly telling example of how far progressive activists want to go to interfere with Christian charity. The humanitarian need on that border is immense, and the Church is heavily involved in ameliorating it. The USCCB settles a full quarter of the refugees that come into the United States each year—including for starters some 68,000 children and families whose flight across the southern border in summer 2014 made headline news for weeks.”

Taking a deep breath, and considering what’s happening, I can’t imagine most people on the left would want to see such work halted, no matter what they think of Catholic teaching on homosexuality or anything else. While there are prudential policy questions involved, that there are people in need whose dignity needs to be restored isn’t one of them.

Putting obstacles in the way of that field hospital work is just about the last thing Americans should ever be about.

As Eberstadt puts it: “Reasonable people, regardless of their personal religious beliefs, would likely agree that thwarting this kind of work is the last thing a compassionate human being should want to do.”

That the ACLU would even consider contraception and abortion as such “nonnegotiable imperatives” as to target the bishops and their work on the border Eberstadt sees as the kind of “ideological colonization” Pope Francis decries.

The question Eberstadt presents in the book is: How can we really live and let live? How can we remain free in a pluralistic society to love boldly, robustly, and courageously, as the Little Sisters do? How can we allow that religious believers are not necessarily “backward,” but living what some might consider an alternative lifestyle, one that lives for Another and others, that keeps virtues alive and people supported out of an overflowing mandate of love, not bureaucratic responsibilities.

Consider too, that believing marriage and family has a divine design isn’t bigotry — it’s an argument worth considering. Value that aid worker not just for the aid she provides, but the full faith that fuels it, and the Church that offers tried and tested and, many believe, true guideposts for a world in need of some steady and sturdy ones.

In the wake of the Orlando bloodshed, it may not be at the top of the news, but we can see that embrace of love at work. It’s the counter to the hate that leads to death – the horrific scenes from Florida. And it’s what will get us out of this cloud.

Everyone with their best gun-control/anti-Islamist statements won’t make things better. Our being better, on the other hand – seeing the other as a fellow creation of the same God who made us, or respecting those who view the world that way and seeing the benefits they do bring when living with integrity – could transform the current misery and curtail some of the bloodshed.

Don’t shut down some of the leading players in showing us the way.