Tagged: guns

Defending the faith in the battles of everyday life

guns-255x255Politics and Faith often are not far from one another in American culture and society. Many Catholics shy away from injecting their faith too far into religion, but a proper understanding, I believe, if that our faith must animate and drive our political beliefs.

That being said, I found two articles yesterday worth reading I think they are prime examples of just how that occurs.

The first by Pia De Solenni,: “Guns and Gun Control.” This is often a touchy subject for some Catholics and I believe she does an excellent job at fairly talking about the issue.

Nevertheless, as a Catholic theologian, I am troubled by accounts suggesting that Catholics who don’t support the U.S. bishops on gun control are  akin to Catholics who disagree with fundamental moral teachings like  contraception, abortion and marriage.

Regardless of the passion of some gun-control advocates, there exist clear  distinctions between these issues.

The article is worth the read regardless of what side of this you are on.

The second is about fighting the pro-life battle in the political arena, and not just by defending life, but actually going on the tactical offensive a bit. Dave Weigel talks about how in Virginia a move by an off-shoot of the SBA List is putting messaging about the danger to women’s health through some pro-abortion laws.

Pro-life politicians have talked all year about flipping the script on Democrats and making them struggle to explain their abortion stances. To a very large extent, that was the point of the campaign to spur more coverage of Kermit Gosnell’s murder trial in Philadelphia. Why should Todd Akin have to answer a hypothetical question about the ugly aspects of banning abortion? Make Democrats answer hypotheticals about the ugliest aspects of legalization.

Again, worth the read, and an interesting race developing there in Virginia.

It is important to remember that as Catholics, our beliefs of the faith, our adherence to the Church’s teaching, and our moral convictions are not “stances on issues” but the inner core of our philosophical base. They are what should animate our political beliefs and our social understanding.

As I mentioned yesterday, where we get into trouble is when we attempt to fit our faith to our social and political beliefs – it should be that we fit those to the teachings of the Church and Jesus Christ.

Crisis Magazine: ‘Some Bishops Want Your Guns’

Nicholas Hahn had a very interesting piece in Crisis Magazine yesterday entitled: “Some CrisisBishops Want Your Guns.” The article stemmed from recent comments made by Bishops regarding the tragic events at Newton and President Obama’s recent remarks concerning “Gun Control.”

Hahn explains that while Bishops have a peacemaking role, some seem to be overstepping their roles and Catholic teaching by “signing on” to some of the recent actions being taken against gun rights in the United States.

The heart of his post though is an argument he makes about the rights of Catholics, under Church teaching, for self-defense. As he writes:

Fr. Lombardi isn’t the only one to take aim at your guns. In fact, the U.S. Bishops have been calling for handgun “elimination” as early as 1990. In 2006 the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace suggested that States ought to “impose a strict control on the sale of handguns and small arms. Limiting the purchase of such arms would certainly not infringe upon the rights of anyone.” The Council may not recognize your right to a legitimate defense, but the Catechism of the Catholic Church does. It is “legitimate to insist on respect for one’s own right to life. Someone who defends his life is not guilty of murder even if he is forced to deal his aggressor a lethal blow.” And if “he repels force with moderation, his defense will be lawful.”

Is a gun moderate? Ask a rape victim. Or a child.

The Catechism goes on to affirm defense as “a grave duty for one who is responsible for the lives of others. The defense of the common good requires that an unjust aggressor be rendered unable to cause harm.” In the light of the Catechism, the National Rifle Association’s brave suggestion that teachers (who are “responsible for the lives of others”) be armed doesn’t seem so crazy after all.

So then, do we have a ‘right’ as much as Hahn asserts that we do, to “bear arms” and defend ourselves and our families? Does this defensive right come into play in a gun rights discussion because of proportionality or “equality”?NunsWithGuns1

For Catholics, the idea of a ‘right to bear arms’ is a very complicated set of ideas. If for no other reason than cultural, we do not carry weapons around with us publicly, the way we used to a hundred or two-hundred years ago. Yet it would seem that the philosophical reasons behind a right to defense would still exist today. How guns, gun rights, and technology come into all of that is another question.

Unfortunately, I believe we are at a point where philosophy, pragmatism, and reality are smashing headlong into one another. Depending on which ship you sail most often, you see this problem – the one of violence and tragedy, differently from others. As for me, what animates my beliefs are the sentiment that Hahn writes in his piece:

The Catechism goes on to affirm defense as “a grave duty for one who is responsible for the lives of others. The defense of the common good requires that an unjust aggressor be rendered unable to cause harm.”

As a father, and as someone that views myself naturally as a ‘protector,’ this is what I struggle with everyday. How to reconcile the Catechism, my patriotic beliefs, and my Catholic virtues. That is why I believe my best weapons are the Rosary and Divine Mercy Chaplet.

Guns and the Problem of Misinformation

121218045837-us-guns-handgun-smith-and-wesson-story-topThe “Gun Rights Issue” is once again a top-3 hot-button issue in American politics. The massacre and tragedy in Newtown placed it back into the spotlight for obvious reason, and yet the discussion that has been occurring is so blurred with emotion, misinformation, and faulty reasoning that I honestly dont know if we have moved the ball forward or backwards.1

The issue has so many facets, that when we talk about guns in general, and the laws surrounding them, it hardly even happens where everyone is on the same page. In fact, two pundits can be on the same tv or radio program, and be talking so far past one another that the average listener gets nothing out of it but for the points (regardless of their factual accuracy) they choose to listen to and remember.  Continue reading

  1. Here I only mean to say in finding a solution to preventing and limiting further tragedies. []