Boston Cardinal Sean O'Malley says the Connecticut school shootings are "a tragedy of almost Biblical proportion," and is calling for tighter gun control and better care for the mentally ill.

O'Malley spoke of the killings of 20 children and six adults during a Mass to bless unborn babies Sunday at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston.

The Boston Globe reports that O'Malley said that as the country reflects on the tragedy in Newtown, Conn., it must recognize "society's inability to deal with mental illness in a more effective way."

He also said the massacre is a "clarion call" for legislation to keep automatic weapons out of the hands of private citizens.

The Mass to perform the blessing of unborn children and their families and communities was planned before the shootings.