"The St. Gabriel Possenti Society, Inc. commemorates the February 27 feast day of St. Gabriel Possenti this weekend with a call for action," Society chairman John M. Snyder noted here today.
"We urge law-abiding Catholic gun owners to protest the anti-gun, anti-self-defense policy of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB)," he added.
"Churchgoers may start to protest the USCCB policy through church financial collections," he said.
A coupon protesting the USCCB position appears on the Society's website (www.gunsaint.com). It may be downloaded, clipped, and placed in church collection envelopes and baskets and in response to diocesan monetary solicitations.
"Millions for Charity," proclaims the coupon, "but not one cent for gun-grabbing church bureaucrats." It "protests the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops call for the criminalization of gun ownership and demands USCCB recognize the protective benefits of such ownership by morally responsible persons." It features an image of the Society emblem.
Snyder said, "The USCCB is on record for 'prohibition of the importation, manufacture, sale, possession and use of handguns.' This is an outrage. It is an insult to the tens of millions of decent people, Catholics and others of different religions, who own and use handguns. People own handguns for self-defense and other legitimate purposes. St. Gabriel Possenti himself used handguns to rescue villagers of Isola del Gran Sasso, Italy from a gang of terrorizing marauders in 1860. (www.youtube.com/watch?v=xXNE2jBaL9o)
"It is rank hypocrisy for Catholic officials to say they believe in a right to life at the same time as they seek the elimination of handguns necessary for the defense of life. In the United States alone, according to estimates, people use guns between 800,000 and 2.5 million times a year for defensive purposes. In the hands of good people, guns save lives. Some church officials are off the beam. Perhaps a number of church ordinaries could use a dose of the Boston treatment."
St. Gabriel Possenti died in 1862. Pope Benedict XV canonized him in 1920. The international Society seeks his official Vatican designation as Patron of Handgunners. Interdenominational in scope, the Society distributes a booklet on "Self Defense and The Bible," by Rev. Anthony L. Winfield, an ordained Baptist minister.