Religion in Society

Catholic Church May Oppose Guns, But Pope John Paul Didn't

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ARLINGTON, VA -- "The forthcoming beatification of Pope John Paul II comes as a welcome spiritual torpedo moving against anti-gun owner Catholic Church bureaucratic sentiment," John M. Snyder, Chairman of the St. Gabriel Possenti Society, Inc., said here today.

"It is ironic that Pope Benedict XVI's announcement of the May 1 event came as the Catholic News Service proclaimed in an article on gun control that the 'Church firmly, quietly opposes firearms for civilians,'" Snyder added.

"It's ironic because Pope John Paul proclaimed definitively traditional Catholic teaching on the right and even the obligation, including killing an aggressor, of self-defense. He did this in his 1995 encyclical Evangelium Vitae. The late pope cited the Catechism of the Catholic Church # 2265 that '...legitimate defense can be not only a right but a grave duty for someone responsible for another's life, the common good of the family or of the state.' Pope John Paul stated, 'Unfortunately, it happens that the need to render the aggressor incapable of causing harm sometimes involves taking his life.'"

Snyder said "anti-gun church officials would render people incapable of defending themselves or others. It's hard to tell if these people are wicked or just plain stupid. It is hypocritical for Church officials to proclaim doctrinally respect for the right to life on the one hand and then, on the other hand, promote or support policies, that if implemented, would render the defense or protection of life an impossibility.

"Devout Catholic firearm owners can let church officials at various levels know what they think of certain Vatican officials' inanity and hypocrisy. There are many ways to do this. One would be to place spent cartridge casings, preferably with primers removed, in church collection envelopes and collection baskets and in bishops' envelope solicitations for contributions. It would be good to remind them of Christ's statement, "if you don't have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one." (Luke 22:36)

St. Gabriel Possenti used handguns without injuring a single human being to rescue villagers of Isola del Gran Sasso, Italy in 1860 from a gang of marauders. Pope Benedict XV canonized him in 1920. The Society seeks his official Vatican designation as Patron of Handgunners.