Amid a mounting debate in America over the constitutionality of gun control, Cardinal Joseph Tobin of Newark has entered the fray with a different argument: That people should voluntarily forgo their Second Amendment rights for the betterment of society.
“I honestly believe it is the best thing we can do to change the culture of violence that threatens us today,” Tobin said.
“Let’s voluntarily set aside our rights in order to witness the truth that only peace and never violence, is the way to build a free society that is lived concretely in our homes, our neighborhoods, our communities, our nation and our world,” he said.
Tobin made the plea in a recent letter, “Pray for an end to all instances of violence,” where he calls on community leaders and Catholic bishops, himself included, to call for a “synodal effort” to actively resist gun violence. He proposed a threefold process that includes prayer and work, advocacy, and voluntary self-restraint from the Second Amendment. …
With that in mind, Tobin made the case that while legislation and regulations are necessary, in the case of gun violence, as with all life issues, it’s equally as important to “regulate our behavior in order to protect the vulnerable and ensure the common good.”
“It’s true that we have a Second Amendment right to bear arms, but rights always involve responsibilities – in this case, the responsibility to protect the innocent and to secure public safety and good order,” Tobin said. “The mass shootings we are witnessing almost weekly now are a serious threat to the lives and well-being of all people.”
In the cardinal’s threefold synodal process, he echoes what other U.S. prelates have said, stating that prayers alone aren’t enough to adequately address the issue. Instead, Tobin said that Catholics must combine prayer with action to prevent the root causes of gun violence.
— John Lavenburg in Newark Cardinal Asks Americans to Voluntarily Forgo Right to Guns