What’s Wrong …

with this Picture?

I know, I know. Second Amendment. Guns don’t kill people. Just war. Right of self-defense, etc. blah blah

And you know what? There’s nothing wrong with marriage and sex either. Jesus would have been entirely within his rights to marry and have children. And yet, still we feel the wrongness of it anyway. I submit that there is something out of kilter with churches helping to foster our already absurdly violent culture.

  • Mercury

    “There’s nothing wrong with marriage and sex either. Jesus would have been entirely within his rights to marry and have children. And yet, still we feel the wrongness of it anyway.”

    Uh, I assume you mean the wrongness of Jesus doing these things, which itself does not have to do with these things being bad, right? :)

    • Mark Shea

      That’s what I just said.

  • http://agapas.me Bob LeBlanc


    “Stop! Stop killing Judas!”

  • Hermann

    Guns don´t kill people – fathers with beautiful daughters kill people!!

    Hermann – father of two (!!) beautiful daughters – BEWARE!

    • Raul De La Garza III

      HAHAHA! +1 to that! As a father of three beautiful daughters, I can appreciate this.

    • Mark Shea


  • http://davidgriffey.blogspot.com/ Dave G.

    Well, the picture does seem wrong. But is it endorsed by those church’s in the article, or is it a photoshop meant to mock churches like those in the article? My guess is this seems stranger to folks not living in a place like Morrow County. It also seems, at least in the case of the Texas church, that it was in response to the congregation’s concerns over new gun laws. So while a church celebrating and promoting guns would be bothersome, one offering safety classes in a region where gun ownership is more common than iPads might not be so bad.

  • Marion (Mael Muire)

    We might turn to Saint Thomas’ Summa (II-II Q 40), where we read observations that apply to Our Divine Savior insofar as He is our High Priest, and thus the model and exemplar of all priests and prelates: [Here follows cut-and-paste]

    It would seem lawful for clerics and bishops to fight. For . . . wars are lawful and just in so far as they protect the poor and the entire common weal from suffering at the hands of the foe. Now this seems to be above all the duty of prelates, for Gregory says . . . “The wolf comes upon the sheep, when any unjust and rapacious man oppresses those who are faithful and humble. But he who was thought to be the shepherd, and was not, leaveth the sheep, end flieth, for he fears lest the wolf hurt him, and dares not stand up against his injustice.” Therefore it is lawful for prelates and clerics to fight.

    Objection 2. Further, Pope Leo IV writes (xxiii, qu. 8, can. Igitur): “As untoward tidings had frequently come from the Saracen side, some said that the Saracens would come to the port of Rome secretly and covertly; for which reason we commanded our people to gather together, and ordered them to go down to the seashore.” Therefore it is lawful for bishops to fight.

    Objection 3. Further, apparently, it comes to the same whether a man does a thing himself, or consents to its being done by another, according to Romans 1:32: “They who do such things, are worthy of death, and not only they that do them, but they also that consent to them that do them.” Now those, above all, seem to consent to a thing, who induce others to do it.

    But it is lawful for bishops and clerics to induce others to fight: for it is written (xxiii, qu. 8, can. Hortatu) that Charles went to war with the Lombards at the instance and entreaty of Adrian, bishop of Rome. Therefore they also are allowed to fight.

    Objection 4. Further, whatever is right and meritorious in itself, is lawful for prelates and clerics. Now it is sometimes right and meritorious to make war, for it is written (xxiii, qu. 8, can. Omni timore) that if “a man die for the true faith, or to save his country, or in defense of Christians, God will give him a heavenly reward.” Therefore it is lawful for bishops and clerics to fight.

    On the contrary, It was said to Peter as representing bishops and clerics (Matthew 16:52): “Put up again thy sword into the scabbard [Vulgate: 'its place'] ["Scabbard" is the reading in John 18:11."] Therefore it is not lawful for them to fight.

    I answer that, Several things are requisite for the good of a human society: and a number of things are done better and quicker by a number of persons than by one, as the Philosopher observes (Polit. i, 1), while certain occupations are so inconsistent with one another, that they cannot be fittingly exercised at the same time; wherefore those who are deputed to important duties are forbidden to occupy themselves with things of small importance. Thus according to human laws, soldiers who are deputed to warlike pursuits are forbidden to engage in commerce [Cod. xii, 35, De Re Milit.].

    Now warlike pursuits are altogether incompatible with the duties of a bishop and a cleric, for two reasons. The first reason is a general one, because, to wit, warlike pursuits are full of unrest, so that they hinder the mind very much from the contemplation of Divine things, the praise of God, and prayers for the people, which belong to the duties of a cleric. Wherefore just as commercial enterprises are forbidden to clerics, because they unsettle the mind too much, so too are warlike pursuits, according to 2 Timothy 2:4: “No man being a soldier to God, entangleth himself with secular business.” The second reason is a special one, because, to wit, all the clerical Orders are directed to the ministry of the altar, on which the Passion of Christ is represented sacramentally, according to 1 Corinthians 11:26: “As often as you shall eat this bread, and drink the chalice, you shall show the death of the Lord, until He come.” Wherefore it is unbecoming for them to slay or shed blood, and it is more fitting that they should be ready to shed their own blood for Christ, so as to imitate in deed what they portray in their ministry. For this reason it has been decreed that those who shed blood, even without sin, become irregular. Now no man who has a certain duty to perform, can lawfully do that which renders him unfit for that duty. Wherefore it is altogether unlawful for clerics to fight, because war is directed to the shedding of blood.

    Reply to Objection 1. Prelates ought to withstand not only the wolf who brings spiritual death upon the flock, but also the pillager and the oppressor who work bodily harm; not, however, by having recourse themselves to material arms, but by means of spiritual weapons, according to the saying of the Apostle (2 Corinthians 10:4): “The weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God.” Such are salutary warnings, devout prayers, and, for those who are obstinate, the sentence of excommunication.

    Reply to Objection 2. Prelates and clerics may, by the authority of their superiors, take part in wars, not indeed by taking up arms themselves, but by affording spiritual help to those who fight justly, by exhorting and absolving them, and by other like spiritual helps. Thus in the Old Testament (Joshua 6:4) the priests were commanded to sound the sacred trumpets in the battle. It was for this purpose that bishops or clerics were first allowed to go to the front: and it is an abuse of this permission, if any of them take up arms themselves.

    Reply to Objection 3. As stated above (23, 4, ad 2) every power, art or virtue that regards the end, has to dispose that which is directed to the end. Now, among the faithful, carnal wars should be considered as having for their end the Divine spiritual good to which clerics are deputed. Wherefore it is the duty of clerics to dispose and counsel other men to engage in just wars. For they are forbidden to take up arms, not as though it were a sin, but because such an occupation is unbecoming their personality.

    Reply to Objection 4. Although it is meritorious to wage a just war, nevertheless it is rendered unlawful for clerics, by reason of their being deputed to works more meritorious still. Thus the marriage act may be meritorious; and yet it becomes reprehensible in those who have vowed virginity, because they are bound to a yet greater good.


  • Noah D

    What’s Wrong with this Picture?

    That our Lord and Savior is perilously close to a Rule #3 violation? At least, as Catholics, we should be pleased that he chose to go Italian.

    I submit that there is something out of kilter with churches helping to foster our already absurdly violent culture.

    Utter tosh, Mr. Shea. Those people whom that church is teaching, the ones interested in learning how to properly carry a handgun, concealed or otherwise? They’re not the violent ones.

    (I don’t see the picture on the linked page, also.)

    • Noah D

      Hm. On reflection, ‘utter tosh’ is, in all seriousness, too harsh. ‘I disagree’ would suffice. ‘Utter tosh’ may have been a bit too mocking, and that was not my intent.

      (I know this may sound silly, but clarity is important.)

  • Jamie R

    Where’s His and the girl’s eye protection?

    • TheRealAaron

      If there’s a little mud nearby for Jesus to spit in, you never need eye protection.

  • Mike in KC, MO

    I’ll tell you what’s wrong: Jesus didn’t remember to keep His finger off the trigger until He is ready to shoot.

  • Caine

    Hey, buddy, I only got two cheeks here!

    • Jmac

      “I’m here to shoot people and turn the other cheek. And I’m all out of cheeks.”

      • Raul De La Garza III

        “Rowdy” Roddy Piper Lives! Thanks for that. It served to increase my joy this morning.

      • Mark S. (not for Shea)

        OK, that made me laugh. A lot. I hope you get time off in Purgatory for that.

  • Mike in KC, MO

    It’s obviously Photoshopped. It looks like a badly copy/pasted Beretta. Everyone knows that Jesus has more class than to use some crappy 92FS.

    • Raul De La Garza III

      Balderdash! It is a divine endorsement for the perfection that is the M9, the favored sidearm of the United States Armed Forces! Ah-roo! ;)

  • http://Www.HundredsOfCustomers.com Justin West

    “Sell your cloak and buy a Sword (R) firearm”

  • Michael O.

    In the original picture, it’s a butterfly:


  • Richard Johnson

    “Guns don´t kill people – fathers with beautiful daughters kill people!!”

    Well, at least they do until their daughter joins the Army and qualifies with combatives, rifle, sidearm and S.A.W. :-)

  • MikeTheGeek

    I pack during liturgy. Our priest knows and has no problem. I’d be shocked to find out I’m alone. If the church wanted for some reason to prohibit guns, they would put up a proper 30.06 sign on the front door with the legally specified text in the legally specified one-inch-high letters. Nobody has ever even suggested such a thing, AFAIK. Someone is confusing modern, limp-wristed, testosterone-free, welfare-sucking, government-save-me, emasculated kumbaya hippie stoner American culture with Christian doctrine.

    In hoc signo vinces.

  • EBS

    What a bizarre, manipulation of a beautiful image. Religious art is meant to illustrate Christian biblical stories. Not be exploited for political agendas. What a sad sorry try-hard whoever put this ridiculous picture together. It screams of CHEAP and NASTY.

  • MI Will

    Photoshop is so exciting. I saw one on someone’s facebook page of Michelle Obama in a flag dress. The dress was photoshopped from a red dress. I looked it up online. The person had made a comment on the facebook page about how disgusting that Mrs. Obama wore such a dress.

  • http://bible.cc/2_corinthians/2-17.htm St. Paul

    Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, like men sent from God.

    • Mark Shea


      • http://bible.cc/2_corinthians/2-16.htm St. Paul

        Have you never been called for a free in-home consultation, or offered some incentive that is merely a lure to avoid actually letting you know what the seller has in store for you? This is that.
        They are Christ-mongers using cents-off coupons or weapons training to fill their pews and their collection plates.

    • Jmac

      By what authority, “St.” Paul??!

      • http://bible.cc/2_corinthians/2-16.htm St. Paul

        The authority of the spirit. Scandals must come.

  • http://www.chipawalt.com Chip

    We are called to imitate Jesus and this certainly involves non-violence. On the other hand there is the right to defend ourselves, which can incur a minimal use of violence, but does this extend to ecclesial communities fostering the rights of defense over our call to holiness? A cursory glance at this should give an emphatic NO! Defending ourselves is necessary only in very rare situations and with finite results, even if the finite results in the unfortunate death of a person. However striving for holiness is an everyday necessity and has eternal consequences. So, if an ecclesial community is unbalanced in their championing of the right to self defense, and seriously under-emphasize our call to imitate Christ and thus our striving for holiness and union with God they do what could amount to an eternal disservice.

  • beccolina

    I think it’s obvious that Jesus would shoot furry critters that are good for eatin’.

  • Mel

    “I submit that there is something out of kilter with churches helping to foster our already absurdly violent culture.”

    Following that logic:

    Theology on Tap – There is something out of kilter with churches helping to foster our already absurdly drunken culture.

    Whoah! Wait a minute, doesn’t count with beer! :)

    • Jmac

      I’m an Irish Catholic, buddy. If any man hold that consumption of alcohol is morally illicit, let him be anathema. And boring. :)

    • David

      “Theology on tap”- perhaps this picture represents the Theology of the Double Tap!

    • http://www.likelierthings.com Jon W

      Theology on Tap. The hilarious thing about that brand is that it was sort of designed to get the church out there, exposing more people to its message, right? At every ToT I’ve ever been to, we have to have our own private room, because otherwise, whoever the pious speaker is gets heckled by half-drunken idiots who don’t know anything about anything except that priests are child molesters.

  • tz

    1. replace it with a TASER.
    2. Teach the kid to do “enhanced interrogation techniques”, what no one suspects were called the “toca” and “strappado” in the Spanish Inquisition.
    3. The kid should be glad he wasn’t one of the 500,000 dead Madeline Albright said was “Worth It”.

    That said, even adults too often result to violence (even deadly force) or its threat. James and John wanted to call fire down on a Samaritan Village for not offering customary hospitality. Yet our Lord asked the Apostles at the Last Supper if they had Swords. They had two, and Peter apparently used one to cut off an ear.

    The use of any coercion, much less deadly force ought to be a scalpel or directed radiation or chemo directed at cancer or something equally serious or life-threatening. This is beyond a child. But in the days that “24″ is a favorite of the right-wing religious groups, it is understandable. Much as other evils.

    Someone needs to photoshop the gun to point at the girl in http://static3.demotix.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/a_scale_large/1100-8/photos/1190498.jpg , or perhaps something like http://news.sky.com/story/678761/israeli-army-t-shirts-mock-gaza-killings so that the bloodthirsty warmongering neo-con “life issue” “Catholics” might see how they look to those outside.

  • Dr. Peter John Resweber

    Not much (other than historical anachronisms).

    Someone else’s response: http://clashdaily.com/2012/12/gun-owners-should-you-listen-to-bob-costas-or-jesus/

    • Dr. Peter John Resweber

      Post Script: Thanks for photoshopping a potentially awesome new “profile pic” for me…

  • Loretta

    Is this supposed to be proof positive that Jesus was right handed? Do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing?