Vatican Welcomes Obama’s Modest Step Re: Guns

Vatican Welcomes Obama’s Modest Step Re: Guns January 19, 2013

says various common sense things like “it’s a step in the right direction”.  Conservative Catholic heads explode.  I wonder if there will be any “Hitler’s Pope” rhetoric trotted out from the Protestant or libertarian sectors of the gun lobby?  I wonder how Catholics will respond if there is?

No.  Rome’s remarks are not dogmatic.  The Church almost never says anything dogmatic (including in Humanae Vitae, by the way.)  And because of this, as Zippy Catholic points out, Lefties habitually invoke “primacy of conscience” and Righties habitually invoke “prudential judgment” as code for saying, “Who cares what the Church thinks?  I’ll just ignore her when she says things I don’t like, unless she forces me to do otherwise with a dogmatic decree.”  So Rome’s remarks will be duly blown off, explained away, or shouted down.  What they will not be is *considered*, weighed, evaluated, pondered or, God forbid, allowed to sway anyone’s thinking.

In American Manichaean political discourse as it’s lived out in media and in comboxes all over the Web, the world is divided between (if you are a Rightie) fascistic gun grabbers eager to leave us naked and prostrate before an Islamic Communist Leviathan headed by HitlerStalinMao vs. a hardy band of freedom-loving patriots struggling to save the Real America, or (if you are a Lefty) rational, highly-evolved compassionate people who care about the earth and The Children and peace who only want what’s best for everybody vs. neanderthal violent misogynist trailer park dwellers clinging to guns and religion and eager to drag us back to racism, darkness, ignorance, and fear.  It’s the War of the Sons of Darkness and the Sons of Light.  Choose a side.

Catholic nuance only creates bafflement and confusion in a political culture like that.  On the Right, the dark suspicion is, “How can the Church be *really* opposed to abortion when it lends aid and comfort to Obama by agreeing  with something he has done?  Unless the Church totally demonizes him in every way, how can it be truly Catholic?”  Meanwhile, on the Left, the HuffPo combox dweller (who routinely take any remark out of Rome as the Pope’s personal edict for all mankind) writes, “His ‘tude towards guns, while appreciated by a person who embraces gun-control such as myself, is paled by his radical views on other subjects he publicly spews about.”  In other words, “Benedict (who in fact said nothing about Obama’s gun measures) may have gotten something right here, but he is still the mortal enemy of all that is good and right and my rigid and unthinking ideological commitments demand that I go on hating him and the Catholic Church with undimmed passion.”

Gee it’s fun being Catholic in that atmosphere.

Update: Not at all hysterical members of gun lobby respond with measured, rational reaction.

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  • Ted Seeber

    I still prefer ammo control to gun control.

    You can’t really do anything about gun control; there are more guns than human beings in America. But ammo is a consumable, it gets used up.

    10 round clips is a good limit as well. Many a crazed shooter gets taken down only when he pauses to reload.

    Here’s my idea of good ammo control: NO ready made ammo available wholesale to the consumer market. Kits yes, ready made no. What that does: encourages a cottage industry black market in ammo, raising the price. Legal firearm owners and hobbyists can make their own. But when their guns are stolen, they’re likely to have a lot less ammo on hand- you don’t need more than 5 rounds for a triathlon, 20 rounds for a day at the range, and ONE round for hunting (yes, I’m a very good shot, but still, if you need more than 10 rounds for hunting, you need to leave meat gathering to the professionals, you just aren’t any good at it). And if you need more than two loads of 12 gauge rock salt to stop an intruder, you’re more of a danger to your family than you are to an intruder and you need not to own a gun at all.

    • Mike in KC, MO

      ” Many a crazed shooter gets taken down only when he pauses to reload.”
      – This is actually a complete myth. In all the mass shootings in American history (you can look them up on wikipedia) exactly ONE was ended by someone rushing the shooter from what I’ve found. If you’re gunning down unarmed people, spending 2 seconds to swap mags, or switch to another weapon, doesn’t give anyone a chance to do anything. The only time a magazine limitation could possibly cause an issue is if you are in a firefight with someone who is similarly armed. In a gun fight, having to stop to reload can get you dead fast, as the fameous Miami Dade county shootout shows. Most of the ‘crazed attackers’ were either stopped by someone else shooting them, or (overwhelmingly) they shot themselves.

      “What that does: encourages a cottage industry black market in ammo, raising the price. Legal firearm owners and hobbyists can make their own.”
      – no, actually the price doesn’t go up at all. What you’re describing is called ‘reloading’ and it’s already done by millions of people (myself included) exactly because it is SO much cheaper.

      I would question your level of experience with regards to the rest of your statements.

      What’s going to drop violence (violent crime in the US has been drastically dropping constantly since the 1990s and mass shooting are actually less prevalent than they used to be, see the FBI uniform crime statistics)? How about addressing the social, cultural and in some cases economic problems at their root? What always makes me shake my head is people proposing gun control measures and then, on purpose it seems, ignoring the real causes of violence. It tells me they aren’t actually serious.

      • bob

        If everyone is only allowed a muzzle loader then it has a bout a minute turnaround per shot. Let the crazed shooter work on that, we’ll see how crazed a reloader he is. In the meantime everyone around can take appropriate action.
        I wonder, in Vatican City do they allow people to walk around armed? Besides the fellows in stripes.

        • Mike in KC, MO

          Well, since we have left reality behind at this point and are engaging in pure fantasy, I dismiss your idea as silly as in that case, a firearm is no longer effective and such a person will take the very easy step of pulling a McVeigh instead.

          Because banning and rounding up all the firearms that aren’t muzzle-loaders is realistic, instead of addressing the social and cultural issues like I described.

          Good to see you actually take this seriously. For a second I just thought you were wasting everyone’s time.

        • Bob, if they had muzzle loaders, why bother with shooting? Why not just gather all the gunpowder together and make a big boom? (like the Bath masacre which was worse than Newton)

          Why do you want a higher body count?

    • Likewise I support the 1st Amendment and a free press. But the consumable ink and paper should be controlled.

      • Jmac

        You do realize that there actually are limits to the 1st amendment, right?

        • Stu

          You do realize there are already quite a few limits on the 2nd amendment, right?

          • Jmac

            I said absolutely nothing about the 2nd, Stu.

            • Stu

              Christian never claimed there were no limits on the 1st.

        • So far as I recall, the only government limits on paper and ink are with regard to the use of poisonous inks. We’ve gone quite beyond that with guns. Regulating the 1st and 2nd amendments at the same level would either severely control speech or really liberate gun ownership and usage.

  • Mike in KC, MO

    I do wonder if the Vatican actually understands US existing gun laws.

    Speaking as someone who is Pro-Gun, no, I don’t find EVERYTHING obama put out to be some kind of dark evil plot. Universal background checks, while I actually think they are unnecessary, and implementing them will not give any real positive effect, could be a good idea, for example. I think a good argument could be made for it.

    What I do find confusing is the following:
    “Considering that Americans possess `’about 300 million firearms,” Lombardi said, `’people cannot fool themselves that it is enough to limit the number and use (of guns) to impede in the future horrendous massacres like that of Newtown that shook the conscience of America and world, as well as that of children and adults. `’ He was referring to the Newtown, Connecticut, elementary school where 20 children and six adults were killed by a sole attacker last month. `’But it would be worse to be satisfied with words” of condemnation alone, Lombardi said. And while massacres are `’carried out by unbalanced or hate-driven persons, there is no doubt that they are carried out with firearms,” the Vatican spokesman said.”

    – Here’s my confusion: 1st, After looking at the proposals that Obama wanted to do, NOTHING he suggested or wants to push would have in any way prevented the massacres from taking place at Sandy Hook, the Colorado theatre, etc, which I thought was the WHOLE POINT IN THE FIRST PLACE.

    Second, this part of the statement: “people cannot fool themselves that it is enough to limit the number and use (of guns) to impede in the future horrendous massacres like that of Newtown that shook the conscience of America and world, as well as that of children and adults. ” This is probably a translation from Italian, I suppose? But it seems to me that, and those who are more informed in how these things are handled in Rome feel free to correct me here, he’s not simply saying “Gun control! RAH! RAH! RAH! HOORAY!” But more like “You’re taking some kind of action with regards to weapons. Ok, but you do know that the problems are actually much deeper than that too, right?” Anyone else get that, or was it just me?

    • Elaine S.

      I get that same sense too. Also, with regard to the actual executive orders, it seems to me that they are all either 1) measures that were in effect in the past (e.g. the “assault weapons” ban) and didn’t bring about The End of America As We Know It or 2) orders to various federal and state agencies, and gun sellers, to do things they already are or should be doing anyway (e.g., background checks). I don’t get the impression there is truly anything radically new or unprecedented. Anyone else get THAT?

      • Mike in KC, MO

        LOL! No, I don’t see anything as ‘end of the US as we know it’ either.

        Regarding the ‘assault weapon’ ban, it caused a lot of problems for those who DO obey the law, but provided zero benefit in terms of any kind of effect on violence (even the ban’s supporters and law enforcement admitted that when it expired).

        My main point was: So you are doing all this to ‘prevent future sandy hook massacres’. OK, but not a SINGLE THING YOU DID would have or will do so. So…. why did you even bother?

        • Stu

          Indeed, Mike. There is no traceability of action related to perceived problem. That’s poor leadership or good showmanship. Take your pick.

          Overall, the executive orders were modest but I think some did overstep his bound as President and should fall to Congress. But that is an ongoing battle with all Presidents over the last century (or more). I do find the encouragement of doctors to report to the government on their patients to be an uncomfortable development. I understand what they are trying to do, but that has the potential to get ugly in other aspects.

        • Especially since there’s increasing evidence that the Sandy Hook psycho didn’t actually use any “assault weapon” or extended clip/magazine in the first place.

    • “Considering that Americans possess `’about 300 million firearms,” Lombardi said, `’people cannot fool themselves that it is enough to limit the number and use (of guns) to impede in the future horrendous massacres like that of Newtown…”

      I think what Lombardi meant was that, since there are so many firearms at present in the United States, we cannot think that a new law banning certain firearms is going to stop massacres — since the law would apply only to future purchases, not to firearms already possessed. Such a law might interfere with the ability of a sociopath to buy a gun in the future, but not the ability of sociopath currently with a gun to use it.

      • Mark Shea

        That seems like a reasonable read on his words.

        • Mike in KC, MO

          I think Fr. Lombardi has more than enough intelligence to understand that while keeping evil people from getting weapons is a good thing, addressing weapons only is not going to solve our problems.

  • Catholic nuance only creates bafflement and confusion in a political culture like that.

    Said the blogger who bans people from his comboxes when they try and bring nuance to a discussino. Or who just spent the entire previous paragraph oversimplifying the actual debate.

    As someone else pointed out elsewhere, there’s nuance and rational discussion all over the place, but those are less entertaining and not as fun to write or complain about.

    • Mark Shea

      I ban people when they try to bring rudeness to the discussion, as you teeter on the brink of doing. Wanna try my patience?

      • Well when the original post starts with

        as code for saying, “Who cares what the Church thinks? I’ll just ignore her when she says things I don’t like, unless she forces me to do otherwise with a dogmatic decree.”

        It’s easy for many to find rudeness already brought to the discussion. (rather like having a sailor kick you out of his house for swearing) The confusion manifests further when users who are perfectly polite are banned willy-nilly and others who are far ruder are allowed commenting. Is rudeness really the issue, or just disagreement?

        • Mark Shea

          You are talking to somebody who listened to the Cafeteria Right struggle with might and main for *years* to deny and ignore the Church’s plain and obvious teaching on torture with every sophistical trick in the book. Yeah. The Right ignores the Church’s teaching with alacrity when it suits it. And with every bit as much stubborn will as Catholics for a Free Choice.

          • And like your (quite right) premise of forgetting the names of mass killers, the best way to aid debate is to not give notice or acknowledgment to the loonier factions. There are plenty of intelligent points made on both side of the debate that you could have linked to to further the spread of rationality rather than the rabies you did link.

            Do your part to spread the solution, not the problem.

  • Stu

    This was an editorial for the Vatican Radio by Father Lombardi. While he is the Press spokesman for the Vatican, it’s his editorial which is why it was delivered in first person. “I’m with them.”

    The press does this all the time. They find a remark by someone in the Vatican and report it as “the Vatican says.”

    • I too find that annoying. Also, every time someone with the title Monsignor says something it’s taken as if the Holy Father said it from the altar of St. Peter’s.

      That said, Mark, you have also taken the Holy Father’s statements on climate change as prudential. I think they deserve more serious attention than that.

    • The editorial was also selectively quoted. Lombardi’s words translated in english can be found here and should be used in preference to the Huffington Post’s interpretation which is only partially accurate.

      Can we all agree, left and right, to go and find original sources and not let ourselves be lured into hurtful bashing of our fellow Catholics by a press that is not friendly to the Church and does not faithfully transcribe its positions or the positions of its members on a depressingly regular basis?

  • KM

    As a Catholic who isn’t comfortable with either the Democratic/liberal or Republican/libertarian parties, it’s good to see the Pope state the Catholic position on this. It may not make a difference to the Left v. Right’s entrenched positions, but I think it’ll help many Catholics who need guidance on the issue. Note that the Pope is not espousing any specific policy proposal, just welcoming that Obama is addressing the issue. I thought the Pope’s statement was reasonable.

    • KM

      Correction: It’s the Vatican’s statement, but I think it reflects the Pope’s position.

      • Correction: it’s Fr. Lombardi’s personal statement as part of a continuing weekly commitment to provide his opinion in the form of editorials for Vatican radio. The Huffington Post interpretation is also lacking the balance that Fr. Lombardi put in his original statement so it is really a good idea to read the english transcript instead.

        • KM

          I read it and found it even more clarifying to Catholics than what was quoted in the linked article for Mark’s post. Fr. Lombardi’s editorial follows the Catechism of the Catholic Church on this subject.

          • KM

            “The initiatives announced by the United States government in view of limiting and controlling the diffusion and use of arms are certainly a step in the right direction. ”

            It’s encouraging to Catholics that Fr. Lombardi states that President Obama’s recommendations and orders are “a step in the right direction.” We may disagree with President Obama and the Democratic Party on various issues but on this particular issue the President is proposing solutions that coincide with the beliefs of Catholics and people of other faiths.

            • I would be fascinated to read the Church’s position on the unorganized militia, which is the institution that Obama is supposedly trying to regulate here. What is the Church’s position and where can I find it?

    • If it was the Pope who commented on the gun control topic, so be it. It was his opinion. What I have been taught anything the Pope states that is not a Catholic Church teaching or dogmatic, then it is just an opinion. Did anyone hear or see this on the main stream media: The weapons used by the Newtown killer were hand guns and not the assualt style long gun. He did have such a weapon, but it was in his vehicle. As usual the drive by “never get’s it right and never investigates” media reported misinformation (nice way of saying they lied), which was then echoed by politiicans and Obama!

  • Well, like you, Shea, I think that Obama is intrinsec evil because, for instance, no one ever defended abortion like he did and does, for instance. In this regard, I think the Church should agree with us.

    Regarding his policies so far on gun control I did not see much, it seems to me (so far) much about nothing, like The American Catholic blog showed.

    • Mark Shea

      No man is intrinsically evil. That is blasphemous.

      • Shea, you know what I meant. I was talking about his policies. Obama in power is abortion on land. And attacks to religious liberty. And same-sex marriage. All of that is intrinsec evil.
        I am quite sure that Cardinal Dolan knows that. You too.

        • Mark Shea

          No. I didn’t know what you meant. That’s why I corrected your comment. If you meant to say that some of his policies are evil, that’s another thing entirely. But of course, that doesn’t mean that everything he does is evil, nor that the Vatican was wrong to approve this particular measure. When you declare human being intrinsically evil (and people do say these sorts of thing about political enemies) you depart radically from the Church’s teaching. I’m glad that wasn’t what you meant to say.

      • Stu

        Even the guy who came up with the Designated Hitter rule?

        • No man came up with that. Everyone knows it was birthed by Satan himself.

        • Mark Shea

          Well, okay. Fair’s fair.

  • Mark S. (not for Shea)

    If both the political Left and the political Right don’t like you very much, it’s a pretty good sign you’re doing something right.

  • Explain why you need a weapon designed for military use if you aren’t in the military or a police para-military unit? I still haven’t heard an explanation aside from an invocation of Bunker Hill.

    • Stu

      That’s not such a simple question. For instance the supposed rifle in question, the Bushmaster AR-15, isn’t a military weapon. Looks like one, but it isn’t one.

      Now I own multiple M-1 Garands that were military surplus. They are semi-automatic rifles that gained fame during WWII. I obtained them for me and my sons because: they are semi-automatic (8shot clip), shoot a 30-06 round which makes it suitable for hunting and they are darn near indestructible which is key when you have boys.

    • rjolly

      Another reason is that some AR-15’s are extremely light, and for women shooters are much easier to learn, train with, and carry . However, as Stu said- they look like milary weapons but they are not. Then there is the fact that the 2nd amendment provides for citizens’ defense against the government. I know many here either think that is unrealistic or is anachronistic, but that doesn’t make it any less true.

  • On another note, I recalled today sitting on a Grand Jury in the District of Columbia, and hearing a police officer testify that it was essentially impossible to stop the importation of firearms into the District from across jurisdictional lines.

    • Maybe DC needs some more laws. But that does beg the question: can they stop the importation of anything into DC?

    • rjolly

      On that topic- I read a comment (somewhere else) noting that heroin and methamphetimines also kill a lot of people and that maybe we should make those illegal too.

  • Billy Bean

    Mark, how’ve ya been? Anyway. As a once-upon-a-time faux hippie type who is now a grandfather, I gravitate almost instinctively to the Right — but at least I’m aware of it. That said, now that I have returned to the Catholic Church, I listen carefully whenever she speaks. Unless she binds me by Petrine pronouncement, I will consider myself at liberty to follow my magisterially informed conscience wherever it may lead. Almost invariably, the Church will moderate my knee-jerk conservatism by reminding me of common sense. I still don’t oppose the death penalty in all cases, but I no longer demonize those who do. Regarding gun control, I don’t think the solution to violence lies in arming every citizen to the teeth. But neither am I yet convinced that the Second Amendment was a Constitutional bone thrown to sports enthusiasts. I tend to see the problem as one of self-control, not (primarily) gun control. The Church seems to be on target in her teaching about the former; perhaps I should be quicker to hear what she has to say about the latter. Your third paragraph in this piece was a marvel to behold!

  • Does the fact that the person saying this comment is not the Pope, but the Director of the Press Office of the Vatican imply that it’s from the Pope himself? Just curious.

    I went to read the direct source and one thing for sure, it does certainly invite discussion regarding limiting the violence with less guns, while also speaking of guns being used as a legitimate defense. Yes, Peace is born of the heart and knowing humans such as we are, unless one seeks peace with a fierce determination, it’s going to be hard to come by. We as the Church, need to truly lead the way and one of the best examples I have seen in my lifetime has been Blessed John Paul II, in forgiving his would be assassin, emulating Christ. It’s hard to do and contrary to our nature and yet must be done for true peace to reign, the peace that Isaiah speaks of in Isaiah 11. The question we, as Catholics, need to have is “How do we demonstrate and teach this to others not only ‘out there’ in the world, but in our own families, neighborhoods, cities, and the Comment Boxes? How can we make a difference and truly live out our faith with mercy and grace that we ourselves have received? Too many times we are emulating the unmerciful servant rather than Our Lord. As someone else pointed out, the root of gun violence goes deeper than simply taking away or limiting the guns, because we all know, there are various tools of violence available to us, and what I have to be careful of is what comes out of my mouth or what I type out on the computer. Jesus taught us this in the Sermon on the Mount and it’s about time we, as the Church, start living it out and “gently instruct” when we need to, but not be asses about our faith, which further turns off those on the fence, but truly and sincerely, with love, reflect the love of Christ, rooted and established in our faith.

    I truly struggle with this gun issue, to be honest, as I firmly believe in the 2nd Amendment rights, more for the fact that I don’t trust our government for various valid reasons, but I also support keeping guns out of the hands of those who shouldn’t be touching them (children, mentally ill and criminals), so guns need to be kept secure, for sure. I think a common sense approach would involve something to the effect of mandating lock boxes for guns to be used, and required gun safety classes before purchasing a gun, something like how we need to be insured and licensed drivers. Not perfect, I know, but neither is the insured and licensed driver requirement. Just my 2 cents, if that.

    • Sus

      Sheila, I agree about mandating lock boxes for guns. I was told in another thread that it isn’t our business how their guns are kept. Gun owners have their rights via the 2nd amendment and that’s all the discussion they want to have. They will not admit that legal guns cause a lot of violence. I know I’m supposed to say that people cause the violence but I’m of the mind that lots of those people wouldn’t cause violence if a gun wasn’t accessible to them.
      I find it sad and frightening.

      • Stu

        It is none of your business no more than it my business is how your medicine cabinet or liquor locker is arranged or secured. I find your desire to intrude into the homes of others sad.

        • Sus

          I wouldn’t be intruding into any homes if a law was passed that said if your gun must be secured from others. The government would be intruding.

          • Stu

            Yes, the people must know these things tovarich. Whatever it takes in the name of the people’s safety.

            Let’s call the new law the “Enhanced Patriot Act.”

      • rjolly

        Would you settle for a law which states that a person is responsible and penalized for damages directly related to a weapon that is not properly secured (assuming the weapon is not stolen)? The thing about this tragedy that makes me extremely angry is that someone who had an obviously unstable person in their home would have weapons which were easily accessible to that same person.
        Connecticut does have a law against improper storage and the penalties are steep (Class D felony and up to 5 years in prison). The problem with making a law which states that such and such weapon must have such and such lock is that it-
        A. makes the weapon useless in a self defense situation.
        B. does not take into account different situations (e.g. children or mentally unstable people in the house) or if the person is physically handicapped (many of whom use hand guns for self defense, but if they only have use of one hand can not easily use a trigger lock or other device.
        C. invites government intrusion and loss of privacy via improper search warrants to “ensure” that the weapons are properly locked.

        To be frank- one of my thoughs after hearing more of the details about the shooting was that the majority of the blame for the shooting lies with Nancy Lanza who did not secure the weapons used when there was an obvious need to. That may seem cold to some as she paid for that mistake with her life, however it is still true and her mistake led to many other deaths.

        It is my hope that from this- those who have mentally unstable people in their household will either properly secure any weapons in their home or remove the weapons from the home if needed. That may actually prevent some future tragedy- instead of draconian laws which punish innocent, responsible gunowners.

        I am all for education on this, and am considering becoming a certified instructor (through that “evil” NRA organization) to help train those in my area.

        • Sus

          “Would you settle for a law which states that a person is responsible and penalized for damages directly related to a weapon that is not properly secured (assuming the weapon is not stolen)? ”

          Absolute, gun owners should be directly responsible and penalized for damages directly related to their weapon.

          I’m not sure what you mean about “not stolen”. If someone steals your gun from your home or car and does something illegal with it, I think the gun owner is also responsible for the crime because they did not secure their guns properly. Otherwise, the gun would not have been stolen.

          While I’m not in favor of victim blaming in any way, I can’t help but think that if Nancy Lanza had those guns secured so that her son didn’t have access to them, the tragedy wouldn’t happen.

          I do know that Adam could have built a bomb or carried a knife into the school. Why should we make it so easy to commit crimes.

          • I’ve been following this case fairly closely and I’ve seen nothing which proves that the killer’s Mother did not properly secure her firearms. We don’t know how he got them. She could have had them secured in a safe and he could have snuck the keys out of her hiding place, jimmied or picked the locks, used a crowbar or other tools to break into the safe. for gosh sakes, the poor woman’s son killed her. Do we have to blame her for his actions with no real evidence of any negligence on her part?

          • Mike Walsh

            Some food for thought, in CT it would be easier to get the components to build an IED than to purchase a firearm. It is rather difficult in CT to purchase a firearm as opposed to many other states.

            Removing firearms from society will leave only 3 groups of people with them, the police, the military and the criminals. History has proven that former will become the latter if this happens.

  • Adolfo

    I’ll take “Articles that Will Not be Found at the Register” for 500, please.

  • Odd, it wouldn’t surprise me at all if the Vatican supported Obama’s steps on this. On the whole, there have been few things that the Obama administration has done that has caused any angst within Catholic leadership. Mainly the HHS mandate portion of a health care reform it looks like the Bishops more or less otherwise supported. So no shock there.

  • “joe”

    yes i remember how quickly rightwing catholics dismissed vatican opinions about the iraq invasion as “not dogmatic”. (they seem to like torture too. i found this blog from ‘coaltion for clarity’ btw.)

  • E. Robert

    Reminds me of those old ads for guns from Italy after World War 2. E.g: “Excellent condition Beretta. Never fired, dropped once.”

  • Izzy

    Mark, this post proves the various assertions that you are not a reliable source for Catholics. “Heads explode”? Humanae Vitae “not dogmatic”? The 10 Commandments are not “dogmatic” either to use that loaded term.

    Your political inclinations and weak formation in Catholicism is there for all to see. The Holy See has no competence to address the Second Amendment in the United States. None. To suggest that this was anything more than a plea for less violence is silly.

    • Mark Shea

      Sigh. No reading comprehension abilities. You’ve managed to misunderstand almost every word I said.

  • E. Robert

    “The Vatican” also had praise for Homer Simpson as a model of Catholic manhood.

    • Mark Shea
      • Szymon

        Have you ever visited the Holy Land, Mark? If so, how many rifles did you see?

        • Mark Shea

          Perhaps pointing to Israel as a model society is not the best way to proceed.

          • Mike

            When speaking of the sons of Abraham, God says, “I will bless those whom bless you and I will curse those whom curse you.” Mark, where do you think you stand on that with your anti-Israel attitude?

            • Mark Shea

              A) I’m not anti-Israel. I merely reject the ridiculous notion that Israel was immaculately conceived and preserved from all sin both original and actual that animates so much of American politics.

              B) The secular state of Israel is not the recipient of the promise to Abraham. Jesus Christ is. That’s not me. That’s St. Paul:

              And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “In you shall all the nations be blessed.” 9* So then, those who are men of faith are blessed with Abraham who had faith. 10* For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be every one who does not abide by all things written in the book of the law, and do them.” 11* Now it is evident that no man is justified before God by the law; for “He who through faith is righteous shall live”; * 12* but the law does not rest on faith, for “He who does them shall live by them.” 13* Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us–for it is written, “Cursed be every one who hangs on a tree”– 14 that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. 15 To give a human example, brethren: no one annuls even a man’s will, * or adds to it, once it has been ratified. Now the promises were made to Abraham and to his offspring. It does not say, “And to offsprings,” referring to many; but, referring to one, “And to your offspring,” which is Christ. (Galatian 3:8-16)

              I’m always amazed that Christians ignore the Bible on this point. The secular state of Israel has as much right to exist as Australia or Canada. It is not, however, some sort of substitute for Christ. Nor is it divinely established, except in the sense that any nation-state that exists in the providence of God is.

              And what does this question have to with this thread? Or are we just tapping various wellsprings in the neocon id to see what sort of charges you can trump up against me for tribal impurity?

              • Mike

                I quoted Genesis 12:3, and you quoted Genesis 22:18. Different application. That said, concerning those types whom subtract the promises to Israel: “…those who are of a synagogue of Satan, who claim to be Jews though they are not, but are liars.” And maybe those types should look at: “If heaven above can be measured… I will cast off all the seed of Israel.”
                Also, you’re the one who mentioned it in the comments, hence my comment. That’s the connection to the ‘thread’.

                • Mark Shea

                  No. I quoted Galatians. The reality is the promises given to Abraham are to his Seed: Christ. End of story. Israel is a secular nation state and a (sort of) ally (when they aren’t spying on us). But they are not some sort of Divinely Founded country and they deserve no special treatment as some sort of divine right. I defy you to find anything in the magisterial teaching of the Church that says otherwise.

  • Loud

    Stu is right about them taking one vatican officials stance or comment they like and blowin git up. It like saying “Congress says” because Pelosi said something. I’m not saying that what the bishop says deserves the same amount of weight as that nutball, but I am saying that we need to consider it rather than go crazy for or against it.
    Out of couriosity, dose the church have an official position on civilian firearms in todays society?

    • Mark Shea

      What do you mean by “official position”?

  • Loud

    It sounds to me that what Lombardi was doing was a mix of both. He aplauded the effort Obama made, then reminded us that the issue was deeper than guns, that merely restricting the number or use wont work. He seems to be the only one advocating that we solve the PROBLEM rather than just blaming the gun. We need to defeat the cultural insabilities that assist in producing these lunitics, or they’ll always be more. This is what happens when faith decays and is hidden away from the popular and public spectrum to be practiced in corners.

    • Mark Shea

      Yep. That the sane and balanced approach. The problem is in the heart (as with all crimes). But we still have laws and external fixes in order to limite the damage evil people do. So there’s also a place for taking steps to keep guns out of the hands of monsters and maniacs. Common sense.

      • Stu

        I don’t believe anyone who has been posting here would disagree with the goal.

        What is in dispute is the effectiveness of proposed measures, whether or not they are truly focused on the problem set or if their associated cost outweighs the perceived benefit.

    • Will

      Just to play the devil’s advocate: has not faith decayed in many European countries that do not have the murder rate of the US? There are certainly mass bombing and shooting incidents, such as the one in Norway in 2011, but not propotional to the US.

  • Tim in Cleveland

    It’s unfortunate that in this debate not much is being said about the use of guns in suicide. In regards gun-related deaths, more people die of suicide than homicide. Ross Douthat had an interesting article on it the other day.

    I found this interesting statistic from Justice Breyer’s dissent in District of Columbia v. Heller:

    “From 1993 to 1997, there were 180,533 firearm-related deaths in the United States, an average of over 36,000 per year… Fifty-one percent were suicides, 44% were homicides, 1% were legal interventions, 3% were unintentional accidents, and 1% were of undetermined causes.”

    Obviously no gun control measure by itself can significantly reduce suicide, but suicide by firearm should be considered in any debate on gun control. But the President’s proposed measures don’t seem to have any concern for this (as Douthat’s blog post shows).

    • I’ve wondered if suicides were included in that figure we kept reading about. Count on Douthat to bring up the meat and potatoes of what’s going on.

    • Sus

      The argument is that these suicidal people will do something else to end their life. I always wonder if the gun wasn’t available to these people if they would go through with it.

      You have to remember, we have the 2nd amendment rights to protect. Everything else doesn’t matter.

      • Mike in KC, MO

        “I always wonder if the gun wasn’t available to these people if they would go through with it.”
        – What we can do is look at the experience of other places and make comparisons:

        South Korea has INCREDIBLY strict gun control. And yet, they have the highest rate of suicide that is recorded in the entire world. Switzerland, while not the libertine firearm mecca some think, has a suicide rate that is 1/3 of South Korea. Romania has bar far some of the strictest gun control laws in the entire world and some of the lowest rates of gun ownership, but it’s suicide rate is the SAME as the United States.

        So, what does this tell us regarding firearms and suicide? Nothing, really. If we want to understand suicide, perhaps the rational thing to do would be to look at our society and culture, just like the rest of crime. A happy, well adjusted person doesn’t suddenly become suicidal because firearms are available, nor does a profoundly suicidal and troubled person suddenly decide that life is worth living because instead of putting a gun in his mouth he’d have to go jump off a bridge.

  • Scott

    You want to talk ammo control? I don’t care where you go, the paranoia crowd has emptied the shelves of ammo, and, what is left is so high priced you can’t touch it!

  • LittleAnn

    Stupid question. Humanae Vitae is not dogmatic? Does that mean contraception isn’t a mortal sin? I’m honestly asking – since my conversion I was under the impression that every instance of artificial contraception was sinful, (and maybe it is even if Humanae Vitae is not dogmatic) but I thought that was in part because of Humanae Vitae because that’s the only source I ever see cited…so now I’m confused. I tried googling it, but didn’t come up with much. Obviously, even if it’s not dogmatic, we shouldn’t just ignore it. But if it’s not dogmatic, does that mean that dissent on contraception wouldn’t preclude someone from communion? Are there degrees that I’m missing? Just getting used to seeing things from a different lens other than Ultra-Traditionalist, which is kinda the door I came into the Church through. I hear it’s common among us converts – must be a weird personality trait LOL

    • Stu

      Mark is pointing out that the document itself is not a dogmatic pronouncement. It is, however, an authoritative document from the Church that reaffirms an infallible teaching from the Ordinary Magisterium (which are moral truths that the Church has always proclaimed). Artificial contraception has always been seen as immoral since the beginning of the Church. Humanae Vitae simply states such clearly.

      There is a bit a nuance here. It amounts to everything that the Church or Pope publishes, while speaking to something infallible is not necessarily itself an infallible pronouncement. I can proclaim that Christ is my Saviour and that He died for our sins in this post, which I just did. Those are certainly true statement but that doesn’t make my post infallible.

    • E. Robert

      That’s the problem: HV is the only documented cited.
      While brave and prophetic, HV actually uses weaker arguments than CC.

  • Janet O’Connor

    I disagree with the remark about Pope Paul VI’s letter not being infallible. This is not true. It actually is because it involves Morality (which along with Faith) means it is infallible. It might not have been declared “from the Chair” but it is. I have a copy of it and in it the Pope writes this:”therefore, having attentively sifted the documents laid before us, after mature reflection and assiduous prayers, we now intend BY VIRTUE OF THE MANDATE ENTRUSTED TO US BY CHRIST, to give our reply to these grave questions.” Read it for yourself and see.

    • Andy, Bad Person

      It doesn’t mention anything new, though. The Church doesn’t just throw out dogmas willy-nilly. Humanae Vitae was a clarification and rearticulation of beliefs we’ve already held. It didn’t need to be dogmatic.

  • Mark- about social justice… (consider this an email to request prayers for an online friend..maybe you can post it somewhere else?)

    Kristin is raising 9 minor children alone after her husband walked out- please pray for her- her latest child support payment was $1.46- not a typo- see the check here

  • Elmwood

    I believe the other aspect of this reasonable gun control debate is that by the very fact that laws are enacted to reasonably restrict access to certain semi-automatic guns, our society is at least acknowledging that the massacre in Newton was the horrible unacceptable act of violence against the sanctity of life that it was. If our society didn’t take any meaningful steps—even if proven ultimately ineffective–to prevent this sort of thing, it could basically say that what happened wasn’t a big deal.

  • Elmwood

    I think a valuble tool to set straight GOP stylized catholicism, as so commonly espoused within Catholic Answers Forums, is the writtings of JRR Tolkien. In the Hobbit and LOR books, the church’s teaching against capital punishment, its social doctrine and the churches understanding of our relationship with creation are beutifully woven into the story. How better to see the evils of liberal capitalism, industrialization and the mass production of arms than through the tales of Mordor and the fall of Eribor (the lonely mountain). Obviously the sanctity of life as it extends to capital punishment is clearly expressed through Gollum and his fate. There are literally hundreds of other examples that I’m sure people are aware of in his books.

    • rjolly

      Stop stretching that analogy! It has already snapped!

    • Jmac

      Remember, Tolkien REALLY hated allegories. Doesn’t stop people from reading them in, but they weren’t intentional, if they exist.

  • tz

    Somehow I find we are in Harry Potter’s world where the Ministry of Magic can wave it’s wand and have guns disappear by magic.

    The difficulty with “gun-control” is how to implement it without causing far worse evils.

    Every day – FOR 40 YEARS TO THIS DAY! – within a 200 mile radius – or is it 50? 20? more innocents are slaughtered than in any of the massacres you would point to that would allow an army of jackboots to invade every house and trash the place in search of contraband – including your own house and family. Yet you do not call for the exile or slaughter of justice itself for the massacre which has murdered 55 million innocents. Yet you call for it for the occasional mentally ill person – whom we in uncharity fail to treat or control – who kills a few people over two thousand miles distant.

    When you do something about – actually take personal action against – the innocent blood spilled daily in your back yard, I will consider you about what can be done about what are comparatively remote and infrequent threats.

    I will listen even more closely if you manage to come up with a proposal that both preserves rights yet addresses the problems. Otherwise you are like the nuns on the bus that desire to solve poverty, but don’t care about “have a kid, get a check” policies. Do something – even something evil – just for show.

    If you are so addled that you can neither propose something specific which is effective, nor simply keep silent because you do not know, you defeat your purpose.

    • Mark Shea

      Nobody but fevered gun advocates are claiming that we can or should try to wave a wand and make all guns disappear. But it’s a beloved trope from the gun hysterics. As to your standard issue counsels of despair and insistence that any attempt to alter the status quo is doomed to create worse evils, yes that is the boilerplate rhetoric of the gun culture too. Don’t forget to mention Hitler at some point.

  • Seamus

    No. Rome’s remarks are not dogmatic. The Church almost never says anything dogmatic (including in Humanae Vitae, by the way.)

    Of course, in this case, “the Church” didn’t say bubkes. There is no magisterium of press secretaries, any more than there is a magisterium of theologians.