A TTAG reader writes:
Here’s the full text of a letter sent by the Rev. Edward Fride to parishioners at Christ the King Catholic Church in Ann Arbor. urging his parishioners to arm themselves and attend classes at Christ the King parish to earn a concealed pistol license (CPL), as reported by freep.com. [ED: paragraph breaks added] It’s followed by the the official US Catholic Church’s position on gun control which is a call for “sensible regulation of handguns“ defined as the elimination of private gun ownership . . .
We’re Not In Mayberry Anymore, Toto!
I have received some feedback from two events recently, one, the announcement I made at the 4:30 Mass on Palm Sunday concerning the CPL (Concealed Pistol License) class and some description of local threats, and the other, concerning the offering of a CPL class at the parish, co-sponsored by the parish. I’d like to respond to some concerns in the context of the broader issue of personal safety and reasonable protection in relation to the parish’s role.
Are We Still in Mayberry?
For those of you who do not get the allusion (the blessed ‘young’ among us), it is a bad mix of two entertainment references.
Mayberry was a fictitious, idyllic rural American city in which the public safety needs were met by a kind-hearted sheriff and a clueless but well-intentioned deputy. The only ‘threat’ to public safety was a bumbling, genial ne’er-do-well who was so accustomed to staying in jail that he had his own cell, which was never locked. The show, The Andy Griffith Show, was so popular that it had two spin offs, Mayberry RFD and Gomer Pyle, USMC.
It was popular because it showed a kind of life that everybody wished were true, no threats, everything is fine, everybody’s perfectly safe, etc. There is no crisis that cannot be solved by hugs and Aunt Bea’s cooking. The “Toto” reference is to a famous line from The Wizard of Oz in which Dorothy, who comes from a rural Kansas version of Mayberry, but suddenly finds herself in a dangerous environment of witches, deadly flying monkeys, (I still have nightmares about those wretched and heinous beasts!) and real threats to her life. She begins to comprehend this and says to her cute dog: “We’re not in Kansas anymore, Toto!”
It is very common for Christians to simply assume that they live in Mayberry, trusting that because they know the Lord Jesus, everything will always be fine and nothing bad can happen to them and their families. Those who have followed the Lord Jesus for more than 20 minutes, however, have often experienced first-hand that the reality of living in a fallen universe can be very different.
How to balance faith, reality, prudence, and trust is one of those critical questions that we struggle with all our lives. Pretending we are in Mayberry, while we are clearly not, can have very negative consequences for ourselves and those we love, especially those we have a responsibility to protect. If we are not in Mayberry, is there a real threat?
Let’s be specific about what we are talking about: for our purposes, a threat is an awareness of a condition that could result in clear and present danger to our lives or our property. What is that condition?
In terms of our personal safety, and the safety of our homes, the situation is that approximately 50 years ago or so, the ratio of police to bad guys, i.e. criminals in the traditional sense, was more or less sufficient to reasonably control crime. However, in more recent years two regrettable factors have taken place. First, the amount of crime has substantially grown; second, due to budget cuts, there has been a significant reduction in the availability of an armed police response.
This situation was highlighted recently by the chief of police of the City of Detroit who publically encouraged the law-abiding citizens of Detroit to arm themselves for their protection and the protection of their homes. He went so far as to say: “Good Americans with CPLs (Concealed Pistol Licenses) translates into crime reduction.” His statement included the idea that the police could no longer adequately protect the citizens of Detroit and it was therefore their responsibility to take seriously their obligation to assist in their own protection and the protection of those they love.
This has actually been good for Detroit, and ironically bad for us, or for those who live in the suburbs. During the CPL class last Saturday at Christ the King, a police officer from a suburb of Detroit who was conducting part of the class pointed out that because more Detroiters are protecting themselves, more of the criminals are now targeting the suburbs, because most of the suburbs consider themselves distant or immune from the threat.
But in point of fact, as the officer pointed out, the threat is actually growing there. It is not just in the big cities either. The police chief of Williamston where Fr. Mark serves told him recently that he encouraged people to get CPL’s because if they wanted to be safe, it was necessary (and Williamston is a whole lot closer to Mayberry than the Ann Arbor/Ypsi area). That same officer from the CPL class personally thanked me for having the parish do this class and expressed a hope that more would follow suit, because having law abiding citizens armed makes their job as police so much better.
When the police are expressing the fact that they cannot now sufficiently cover the areas assigned to them and are explicitly encouraging people to arm themselves and carry, who is the expert in the field of our protection that we should listen to more than them? Who knows more about the lack of safety than the ones who are formally tasked to attempt to provide it? Prudence requires taking their advice seriously. How close to home is this? A few weeks ago some of our folks had their next door neighbor killed in a robbery. It doesn’t get much closer than that.
I was curious about the local church situation so I called some of the local congregations to see what their approach was to folks having weapons. At Knox Presbyterian, which has a history of having their parking lot robbed by the same gang that had targeted us and St. Joe’s Dexter, they had no policy and told me they would have to have a committee to discuss it and I should get back to them in a few months.
I pointed out that I had walked into the building, through unlocked doors, during a time when the building was filled with Christ the King kids and others doing the homeschool co-op. I found their lack of security or even awareness of its need distressing at best.
On the other hand, when I talked to several Protestant ministers in Ypsilanti, they told me that they all regularly carry (i.e. carry concealed pistols) and that especially during their services, they have armed uniform guards present. They take the threat to their folks and their worshipping congregation seriously. They told me that they felt that they had a duty to acknowledge the reality of the threat and to take appropriate action for their people’s safety.
Others have made similar observations, for example, the movie theaters. In the aftermath of the Aurora theater shooting, you may have noticed that Rave Cinema started having armed guards present at their Friday and Saturday nights’ shows. They were very visibly present, and armed. It brought about a sense of security, and actually helped to establish that security.
However, Rave was sold and according to theater employees, the new company didn’t want to foot the bill for security and now there are toy cops present, who in an actual threat would be of as much use as screen doors on a sub.
What about a police response to a theater threat? In the Aurora situation, it could not have been more ideal, the police where already on site handling the traffic for the Batman opening. They were at the theater where the shooting was taking place in 90 seconds. A 90 second response time would seem to be great, right?
In those 90 seconds the shooter had shot 82 people, killing 12. Ninety seconds is an eternity. The shooter drove by two other theaters which allowed patrons to carry firearms and went to the Aurora theater which didn’t allow people to carry.”No firearms allowed” turns out to be crazy-speak for “target rich environment.” The shooter knew he would have the whole place to himself, and he did, for as long as it took to shoot 82 people. The toll would have been much higher but his primary gun malfunctioned.
What about our schools? The fact that two active shooters got within yards of Father Gabriel Richard before they were taken down by SWAT demonstrates that the threat is real. This druggie couple from Detroit stole a car and it broke down at Plymouth and Dixboro. They went through the woods and had almost reached the high school when they were stopped. Because it was a Mass day, the doors were open so the parents could get in to attend the Mass.
There is zero security at the high school. Had the shooters got in, we would have had our own Columbine. But what if their car had broken down on Plymouth and Earhart instead? They would have been coming through the woods into our parish center backyard on a day when the parish center was full of kids. What then?
I recently participated in ALICE training with faculty from FGR, SSA, and HVCS. It is training faculty and administration to respond to an active shooter on their site. The protocol has been radically changed from ‘basically duck and cover’ to ‘rush the shooter.’ The ‘duck and cover’ approach turned out to be disastrous, since during the Virginia Tech shooting the shooter just went from room to room shooting students. Now faculty is being taught that rushing the shooter will result in saving lives.
In fact, the superintendent of one school district advised all the kids in their schools to bring a canned good from home to keep at their desk so they could throw it at a shooter if one came to their classroom. That catastrophic morning, the principals at Columbine and Sandy Hook probably thought they had done everything prudent they could to protect their kids, and ended up with schools full of dead kids. I bet they go to bed most nights wondering about what more they should have done. One response other people made was that in the area around the Sandy Hook school, CPL applications went up 300%.
That the threat is real we are hearing loud and clear from our police and their input to us is to be protected, ourselves and our families. They are openly supportive of CPL’s and doing what is necessary to adequately protect our families and our homes.
One comment made after I made the announcement at the Palm Sunday 4:30 Mass was that the announcement caused fear in some. Let’s analyze that for a moment.
Fear is a normal response to a perceived threat condition. Our emotions, though distorted by the Fall, were, in part, given to us to assist in making decisions under certain conditions. For example, a significant experience of fear puts the body into ‘fight or flight’; a specific physiological response that prepares us to defend ourselves against a significant perceived threat, either by fighting or escaping.
The emotion of fear also communicates, in this situation, two fundamental realities: a threat is present (or is being described as present) and we are not equipped to deal with that threat. It demonstrates the second in that our normal experience is that when we are faced by a threat we know we can handle, we don’t experience fear, or at least we do not experience it at the same level.
When I get into the sparring ring with a hundred pound yellow belt, there is no fear—there is a threat but it can easily be handled. If at the last minute Chuck Norris jumped into the ring and took his place, the fear would be very real! If most of us were placed in a combat situation, the fear would be very real, so real as to almost be paralyzing; if some Team Six Navy SEALs were placed in the same situation, there would be great focus and concentration, but little fear.
So, when we hear about the threats enumerated above, what is our response? If it is fear because we perceive that both the threat is real and that we are unprepared, then we need to have a better response.
The Responses to the Threat
There are a few different responses that can be made to this, most problematic but one highly useful. On the problematic side, number one is ostrich syndrome—bury your head in the sand, pretending that the threat isn’t there—if you can’t see it, it can’t see you. Good luck with that. What that approach ends up with is just a lot of dead ostriches. The police have made it clear that the threat is real, they have given specific advice as to how to deal more effectively with that threat. Ignoring their professional advice is problematic at best.
A variant on that, and one that is likely much more prevalent here is ‘I’m not worried, I’m a Christian, God will protect me.’ This is a Christian variant on ‘Mayberry syndrome’ Sounds pious, even Biblical, but is it true? The reductio ad absurdum of that argument is fairly simple: this argument requires us to believe that none of the kids killed at Columbine, or Sandy Hook, or Virginia Tech, or the adults at Aurora were Christians.
We clearly know otherwise. There was in the past a certain kind of ‘magical’ thinking in some communities that because we were so special, so faithful, so charismatic, so whatever, that nothing bad could ever happen to us, to our marriages, to our kids, etc. History has demonstrated the radical insufficiency of that perspective.
It is the case, of course, that the Lord Jesus can intervene to protect us. I have personally experienced the wonderful combination of word of knowledge and release of the charismatic power gifts that have literally saved my life in several situations. However, not to be too blunt about it, but I would bet that there are not more than a handful of people in the parish that are currently operating in the charismatic gifts at that level so that they could utilize them in an attack situation for the defense of their family.
Repeated pleas to folks to take our advanced courses and learn more about the power of the Spirit have not generally been well-heeded. Perhaps this new reason to do so (which in fact was always part of my pushing those classes) may get better attendance in the future. But I would also point out, that notwithstanding my capacity to use the gifts in serious threat situations, twice the Lord Jesus had me respond to imminent very dangerous personal threats using more prosaic means, e.g. disarming an attacker in one case and physically challenging members of an attacking gang in another.
What about the passive choice, i.e. I choose to not resist, I chose to turn the other cheek?
This certainly has Biblical grounds. What about this? In 1971 I met the Lord Jesus, got Spirit-filled, and became Catholic. I had always had pacifist leanings (I was a Ghandi groupie) and when I turned 18 I decided to be a conscientious objector. The Vietnam War was still raging, the draft was still in effect and my graduating class, the class of 71, was the first one to be ineligible for the student deferment. St. Francis was my patron Saint, his approach considerably moved me, as did the testimony of so many others.
The Biblical evidence was clear, the pacifist position was an option. The Church’s approach simultaneously allowed and blessed both alternatives, the pacifist approach and the right to protect the common good with military action if necessary. My parents were absolutely opposed as were many of my friends. I continued doing research and praying and eventually decided to file a Form 150, petition to be granted conscientious objector status. My draft board was notorious for not granting them but in my case they did.
So, I am well aware of all the arguments for the pacifist position, and I still respect it for those who wish to take it for themselves. So what changed? For me, as is not surprising for an immature 18 year old, it was all about me, what should I do, what should be the ramifications for my life, etc.
As I matured and especially as I became more and more aware of the Catholic moral teaching on the common good and the right and obligation to protect it, I began to see how completely individualistic my choice had been. This was not surprising, coming from a Congregational background in which the common good is not taught and the individualism and the individual congregation is the absolute decider (hence the name).
But as I studied Catholic moral teaching more, I realized that if I made a choice like that, I was not only making it for myself but for all those who might have a reasonable call on me for their protection. It is no accident that the percentage of Catholics in police forces and the military is far higher than the percentage of Catholics in the general population. Catholics are raised with this idea of self-sacrifice and the active promotion of the common good, even at the cost of self.
The quote often used to describe the military experience sums this up so well: ‘they don’t fight because they hate who is in front of them, but because they love those who are behind them.’ I began to consider a set of moral scenarios, ‘what would I do if’ scenarios.
I eventually concluded that I was certainly no longer a pacifist absolutist; there were situations in which I would actively intervene, even to a lethal level if necessary. I could not generally see myself doing that simply to protect myself—especially if martyrdom was involved, but what if I came across a woman being beaten or sexually assaulted, or somebody attacking kids?
In those cases my response would be immediate and sufficient. The ‘what would Jesus do’ is often used as a defense for pacifism, but when you read what Jesus actually does, as Revelation describes as He leads His army to destroy those attacking Israel, to say it does not go well for the bad guys would be something of an understatement. (Or you could ask Ananias and Sapphira how that ‘Jesus is a pacifist’ worked for them.)
What then should our response be?
Here we have the advantage of Catholic moral teaching, which can assist us in not falling into fundamentalist traps. The virtue of prudence has been given to all of us, it is the capacity to judge what is the appropriate action at a given time. The Church urges us to grow in our understanding and exercise of the virtues and in this case in particular, prudence is of paramount importance.
So what is prudent in this situation? If those tasked by our society to protect us are telling us that they are no longer sufficiently able to do so, and they in point of fact are urging us to arm ourselves for our protection and the protection of our families, how could it possibly be prudent to ignore that? How could it be prudent to ignore their professional advice?
Ignoring their advice would mean one of four things: you think that they are wrong, or you and your family are already adequately protected, or the odds are ‘ever in your favor’ against an attack occurring, or you have already decided not to defend yourself or family if attacked.
As to the first, if you have hard data that puts you in a better place to make judgments about these issues than the police are, I’d love to see the data. As to the second, good for you. As to the third, risking your family’s safety on essentially a coin-toss approach is ludicrous and in fact ignores the police input. As to the fourth, I have known many pacifists in my earlier times with the Quaker peace groups, the Fellowship of Reconciliation, etc. Some of them were absolutists who would not defend themselves and their families in any attack situation.
My response was that if the adults had made that decision, that was one thing, but no adult has the right to make that decision for a minor. Kids have an absolute right to expect their parents’ protection.
CPL and Christ the King
Part of the announcement that I made at that Mass was misunderstood to suggest that I was about creating a CTK militia to fight against the Moslem threat posed by Dearborn. In point of fact the comments I made about the jihadi threat were specifically in relationship to the published ISIS threat against the domestic families of our military, a threat the military has responded to very seriously.
I will address the threat to our military families in a different email. The threat that I am most concerned about is not a religious threat to the parish or our members, though for those who think “it could never happen here,” those were exactly the sentiments of the ancient Christian community of Mosul, who are now dead or in exile and whose ancient Cathedral has been desecrated into something else. But that is a different topic.
The point here is that the threat that the police have been addressing is not the jihadi threat but the ‘normal’ threat of a progressively more dangerous society in which we live. The point of having the CPL class at Christ the King was two-fold.
First, I have spoken to many folks about getting CPL’s and difficulty scheduling; inconvenience, etc. had stood in their way. Second, and more importantly, doing it here at the parish, co-sponsored by the parish, was an attempt to get people to realize the reality of the threat and take it seriously.
In a conversation with one person, I was told that when people hear me say these things, they just think to themselves, ‘well, that’s just Fr. Ed’ and they ignore it. You have no idea how deeply hurtful that was. But, in any event, that’s why my approach here was not to simply say what I think, but to try to point out the reality of the situation, especially as the police themselves are articulating it to us.
If you don’t trust my insights into the situation, at least trust the professionals whose job it is to protect us. Case in point, two parents had their kids temporarily removed from their custody because they let them walk some distance away from their homes without adult supervision, this was seen as negligence on the parents’ part by child protective services. While that particular case could be seen as an over-reaction.
Clearly there are neighborhoods no longer safe for our kids to be unaccompanied. If child protective services and the courts are now demonstrating a high standard of protection for our kids, precisely because of the perceived greater threat, should we not pay attention, especially if the police themselves are saying the same thing and pointing out their inability to adequately protect us and our families?
So, the choice of course is yours. Each family must consider what it is prudent for them to do. We will offer the CPL class on two more Saturdays and it is my fervent hope that people will take advantage of it, for the reasons I have mentioned. I think it perfectly appropriate for the parish to offer this class because the protection of our families and our kids is of paramount importance to us.
Since the police have informed us that it is naïve and simply wrong to think that they can adequately protect us, then we must take the necessary steps to do so. The steps must be reasoned steps and not simply knee jerk reactions. Several people have said to me, I’m afraid of guns. My response to one woman was, ‘well, how do you feel about rape?’
While that may seem extreme, when we chose against one option, we do, in a sense, empower the other. Ann Arbor was plagued by a serial rapist not long ago, no doubt every woman raped had thought it could never happen to her. The threat is real, fear is a choice. If we are adequately protected, fear need not be the reality.
Our families, especially our kids, are the second most precious gift given to us by the Lord Jesus. He Himself being the greatest. How we respond to threat to this gift should be very seriously considered and it is my fervent hope and prayer that all the families in Christ the King will do so.
Your brother in the service of Christ the King,
Here’s the official US Catholic Church’s position on gun control.
The US Catholic Church’s position on gun control calls for “sensible regulation of handguns“ which means the elimination of private gun ownership. That policy statement on what the US Catholic Church believes is “sensible regulation of handguns“ is buried deep, really almost entirely hidden, in a footnote.
The US Catholic Conference of Bishop’s document “Responsibility, Rehabilitation and Restoration: A Catholic Perspective on Crime and Criminal Justice” from November 2000:
As bishops, we support measures that control the sale and use of firearms and make them safer (especially efforts that prevent their unsupervised use by children or anyone other than the owner), and we reiterate our call for sensible regulation of handguns.36
It’s not until you actually read footnote 36 that someone learns that “sensible regulation of handguns“ means: “However, we believe that in the long run and with few exceptions — i.e. police officers, military use — handguns should be eliminated from our society.”
He does sound like a good shepherd (and I am strongly Protestant).
We Christians sometimes get misled by crazy un-biblical arguments against bearing arms for the protection of the innocent. Of course it is lawful, and reasonable, for Christians (and everyone else) to bear arms for the protection of our own lives, and the lives of others.
Haeioly crap, if I had a spare week I might read that, except for it being so stupid and boring. Can we boil it down to reasonable principles, like, “if he shoots at you, shoot back!”?
It took me just a few minutes to read. Did you skip school?
His sole purpose for being in the comments of this post is to troll people of faith. Why would he bother to read the post?
Larry: you’re making zero effort to make a worthwhile, on-topic comment. You do realize, don’t you, that you have the option of refraining from commenting? Or is it that important to you to assert what you believe to be your superior, atheist intellect? Whatever the reason, it reeks of either arrogant condescension, insecurity, or immaturity.
There are TTAG posts upon which I choose not to comment, because I find I have nothing of benefit to contribute to the conversation. Perhaps that would be an option worth considering?
Maybe you should go to the “Derek Zoolander school for kids who can’t read good”
It took me two days to read it, 2 minutes at a time… in-between conversations with the family. I read it to them while we ate meals.
I am not Catholic. I have MANY theological, philosophical, and historical references that demolish any chance of me changing my mind about Catholicism. However, I have run across one or two “Fathers” that I believed were truly followers of Jesus, rejecting much of the political expectations of the Diocese, or even Rome. This guy seems like that kind of person, having more common sense than political sense.
I can appreciate that kind of person. Not only that, I admire this man. He has articulated many things in this letter that I have not been able to articulate, to my own satisfaction. Specifically, Christian pacifism vs. Absolute pacifism. I am grateful to this man for helping me with that. I find his letter among the most valuable to me and my family on this topic.
So, I recommend you take the time to read it. It is well written and worth reading every word.
Spread the Good News!
The Bishops’ official statement is fifteen years out of date. Time to wake up.
I’m making 86 dolar an hour working from home. I was shocked when my neighbour told me she was averaging 61 dolar but I see how it works now. I feel so much freedom now that I’m my own boss. This is what I do…
Rᴇᴀᴅ Mᴏʀᴇ info ►►►►
People look at me funny when I try to pay for lunch with a 10 dolar bill. Sometimes they call the police. This really isn’t working out.
A long but excellent personal and public treatise on protection of the innocents by force, even lethal force by gun, when necessary. A trek of a former passivist with knowledge of the Word and words of Christ in balance to bring correction to those who think Jesus was just a “Suffering Servant.” I will have so many Roman Catholics who are caught up in his self-centered “no defense” mentality, to read Fr. Edward Pride’s pen on the subject.
Does this anti-gun stance he’s defying come down from the Vatican, or is it local (American) bishop stupidity?
If it comes from the Vatican, it might be time to consider finding a different church. I would never want to be a member of a church that expects you to believe as an article of faith that guns must be banned.
Local, not binding, and not doctrine. In church parlance, weapons and private ownership are a matter of ‘prudential judgment’ left to the individual.
The catechism has this to say about self-defense– and doesn’t address firearms specifically:
2263 The legitimate defense of persons and societies is not an exception to the prohibition against the murder of the innocent that constitutes intentional killing. “The act of self-defense can have a double effect: the preservation of one’s own life; and the killing of the aggressor…. The one is intended, the other is not.” (1737)
2264 Love toward oneself remains a fundamental principle of morality. Therefore 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: (2196)
If a man in self-defense uses more than necessary violence, it will be unlawful: whereas if he repels force with moderation, his defense will be lawful…. Nor is it necessary for salvation that a man omit the act of moderate self-defense to avoid killing the other man, since one is bound to take more care of one’s own life than of another’s.
2265 Legitimate defense can be not only a right but 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. For this reason, those who legitimately hold authority also have the right to use arms to repel aggressors against the civil community entrusted to their responsibility. (2240)
The last sentence or two of 2265 might be read as indicating you have to be an authority to legitmately use arms, even in self defense.
So perhaps there is a doctrinal backing after all.
Overall, it seems solid on the principle of self defense, making sure it’s not murder in the guise of self defense, etc….except it makes no mention other than this about being free to choose the methods and equipment used, and this mention isn’t very reassuring.
No, it can’t be read that way. The last paragraph is talking about when there is a DUTY to act, not when there is a right to. And further, keeping in mind that the CCC doesn’t have the entirety of Catholic thought in it, it is constant teaching of Catholic moralists that the head of an imperfect society, like a father of a family, has a corresponding duty to protect the members of that society. A private person as such can choose to forgo defending himself. It is his life. But he cannot choose to forgo defending his children, nor can any in charge of a city, state, country forgo defending the members of the same
Do all y’all understand this is superstitious nonsense? It might make it easier to understand why it seems silly!
Larry, to you its superstition. To others its not. I guess the 1st Amendment is not as important to you as the 2nd? Never mind, I realize you are just trolling. You had a bad experience as a child with religion, or you think you are smarter than everyone else.
Writing from a Protestant perspective, I can appreciate all moral thesis as another man’s attempt to puzzle through the problems a secular individual might face. Nevertheless, ultimately, I as the reader am responsible for making of each thesis what I can by my own reasoning. This responsibility is inalienable.
It makes sense to me that an individual adult with no dependents enjoys some latitude as to how much of a self-defense he is prepared to use in response to a threat. He might choose to martyr himself in witness to his faith.
Conversely, a minor individual seems to me to have less latitude. At a tender age he is not yet free of his responsibility of self-preservation according to his parents’ judgement. An adult with dependents is also in a different category. How will he execute his duty to his dependents if he is killed?
And, how is it that catechists are able to make a timeless classification of those having authority vs. those not having authority? Individuals living in a state-of-nature had no authority duly-appointed by Devine right nor by popular election to assume the mantle of authority. Conversely, in our constitutional form of government it is the individual who is sovereign and he delegates – non-exclusively and retrievably – a part of his sovereign power to the state. That this is so is plainly clear in the statues acknowledging the power of citizen’s arrest and explicitly imposing a duty upon a citizen to respond to a call by a civil authority.
A congregant has a responsibility to listen to his parish clergyman and to his diocese leadership, and so forth and come to his own conclusion. If his conclusion is to subject his partner and children to the jeopardy of slaughterer, I am free to criticize him for dereliction of duty. Should his conclusion deviate too greatly from that of his catechists then it his duty to protest.
Note that the Catechism doesn’t specifically mention the type of arms to be used in defensive situations. Why? Because it’s not the means, but the purpose, that matters. Such teaching can be applied universally and transcend changing times. The US Bishops’ position appears political and fails to recognize the need for means of defense, particularly from threatening governments. I wonder if they’d hold the same position during Nero’s persecution?
Thanks, very helpful.
A bit verbose, but positive words indeed!
Cradle-Catholic, raising kids in-the-faith. Still . . .
Ankle-grabbing will not be tolerated. Attempted coercion at ankle-grabbing even less so. [Fly whatever banner over that you want].
Check here: http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/criminal-justice-restorative-justice/upload/USCCB-Senate-Testimony-Proposals-to-Reduce-Gun-Violence-2013.pdf
Vengence is mine sayeth the Lord (Romans 12:19) and I leave it to HIM. This is War, you say you feel you are being warred-upon, I say (in my own head, because [when and if] I will not be stupid enough to ask for permission, nor give you warning) that any action by me is war-answered. When GOD returns, make him step over your dead to ask you why, rather than step over their dead to ask you why you did nothing.
Yeah you, you know who you are, go grab your baby blue helmet.
(the U.N. is not an international peace organization, it is a prefix for all things good, and right, and just).
Have the U.S. Bishops heard of ISIS? (Or ISIL, as the president’s admin. likes to call them, [effectively ceding more territory (Israel) to our enemy than even they have the stones to claim]). ISIS is calling for the end of Christianity. (as soon as they get me to give up mine, they’ll want me to change back, I promise)
Helo-extraction plans in the works for his holiness should continue. I expect, we will need to be all set for our rescue mission sometime before November 2017. He’ll be the one in purple up on the roof of the basilica, screaming “mercy” and throwing slippers at his attackers.
Because gun-control works both ways.
Ri-i-i-i-ght. Let me know when any priest has been disrobed and disemboweled for his “play time” with little boys. You are kidding yourself.
Well, if the US Catholic Church wants to get involved in gun laws, maybe they need to be subject to tax laws.
There’s a difference between the organized “official” bishops yapping about gun control and this priest running his own parish and writing that letter and helping his parishioners protect themselves. So why make the huge jump to taxation here? Apples and oranges. As I mentioned above, the bishops’ statement is fifteen years old now; they need to wake up and smell the coffee and recognize what Father Ed has recognized.
Hence my mention of the US Catholic Church, not Father Ed. 😉
I didn’t get the impression he was saying this because of what the priest did.
But the USCCB is constantly telling the government what laws it should and should not pass; in particular they endorsed Obamacare. With respects to the Bishops, he might just have a point.
The Constitution is a limiter to the government, not the Church.
The church has no limits whatsoever, according to the church. And they have guilted and brainwashed people into supporting that BS for 2000 years. When will you learn? It. Is. Nonsense!
Incredibly well argued. Each of us should forward to our respective clergy.
I will be doing exactly this. I have discussed this topic with one of our church elders who is a sworn law enforcement officer and enthusiastically supports concealed carry everywhere — including churches. However, neither of us has raised the question at our church. I believe this will be an excellent springboard.
My pastor is a military reservist. The safety team is organized and managed by a police officer, and there are, I believe, at least two gun instructors in our congregation along with a number of permit holders.
Suffice it to say our church is already on board. 🙂
I imagine we have all heard Christian pacifists proclaim …
My new and permanent response …
Yada, yada, yada …
ie. I’m an unintelligent troll.
And riddled with mindless superstition forced on me by 2,000 years of brainwashing and pedophile clergy, all directed by the Scarlet Whore of Babylon and a bunch of weird old guys in funny hats.
Let’s not forget the Crusades, the Inquisition, and the brutal and savage persecution of the great scientist Galileo, etc., etc.
So the fact that atheistic humanism and evolutionary teaching was the ideology behind Hitler’s genocide doesn’t bother you? Great job buddy. You probably think Africans are closer to apes than the white man.
Steel you just Godwin’d the thread. Good job.
Also characterizing the Third Reich’s actions as humanist and atheist show you have little understanding of any of the three.
Dang, that’s a long letter.
Bookmarked for future reference.
It is a really good reference if you anticipate any trouble with concealed or open carry in your church.
Sorry to have to report that, according to his facebook page about an hour ago, his Bishop has told him to shut the CPL class down, or more specifically, not to have them on church property.
That sucks, if true; bishops can often be a lot like career officers and NCOs in the military, unfortunately.
The link to the FB page:
“The page you requested cannot be displayed right now. It may be temporarily unavailable, the link you clicked on may have expired, or you may not have permission to view this page.”
I clicked on the link and it worked fine for me.
OK, works fine for me now, too; hopefully he can arrange something off church property now, but knowing some of the bishops, they may tell him he can’t do that, either. Bear in mind these are U.S. bishops and it’s not coming from the Vatican; too many people seem to think that every statement of any kind is direct from the Holy Father in Rome. And that one priest or one parish church stands in somehow for the entire Church of well over a billion people.
This is posted on the Church’s website now:
“I would like to make the following statement in relationship to the CPL controversy currently in the media:
The Lord Jesus has blessed us greatly in calling Bishop Earl Boyea to serve us as the fifth Bishop of Lansing. I have been and continue to be very grateful for his ministry, especially his great work in leading the Diocese in the fulfillment of the Holy Fathers’ call to the New Evangelization that all people would hear the message of the saving love of the Lord Jesus Christ. As our Bishop, he is responsible for setting policy for our parishes and he has decided and publicly stated that CPL classes are not appropriate on Church property. That is his call to make and we will obviously follow his policy on this and on all decisions he makes as he shepherds this Diocese. No parish is an island unto itself and no priest operates on his own. I am his priest and I will continue to serve him to the best of my ability.
Fr. Ed Fride”
Ir-relevance has many different germs, but this is the planting of a vineyard with full-grown fruit bearing vines.
The Faith will always be relevant, but Catholic leaders, like the enemies of the Faith, want it practiced in caves.
The faith has never been relevant, is not now, and never will be. I await a lightning bolt, but believe it very unlikely, and fear it not at all.
Here is the Bishop’s statement. Ugh.
A statement attributed to Bishop Earl Boyea, addressed the issue of guns on church property and the classes at Christ the King:
“Bishop Boyea has never given permission for anyone to carry a concealed weapon in a church or school of the Diocese of Lansing.
This ban on weapons has now been extended to “open carry” in our churches and our schools, thus making them gun-free zones.
Additionally, Bishop Boyea further states that Concealed Pistol License classes are inappropriate activities to be held on Church property.
As always we rely on the public or professional security forces to provide for public safety on Church property.”
Someone from the diocese ought to ask the bishop what the parishioners should do when the public safety authorities tell us they not only can’t protect us all the time, if at all, they have no moral, ethical or legal obligation to do so. Perhaps the bishop needs to update his familiarity with what the Nanny State can’t and won’t do for us.
This is dealt with simply.
Concealed means concealed…
One of the parishioners can organize a class somewhere else. Like a local gun range. Post that in the church bulletin.
Someone needs to educate the Bishop on the fact that the police are not in fact responsible for protecting any individual– including familiarizing the bishop with the legal precedents in the matter.
Shouldn’t we believe that god has advised the bishop on all matters he needs to know? Or do we not believe that god exists? I am certain the bishop knows the truth, right?
Heard this a few weeks ago.
Chris Wallace of Fox News in an interview, two weeks ago, with the Arch Bishop of Washington Cardinal Donald Wuerl asked, referencing the Pope Francis saying “its lawful to stop and unjust aggressor” referring to the war with ISIS.
Cardinal Wuerl replied, “Its common sense. Everyone knows you can defend yourself against an aggressor. All you have to do, even with a child…to smack a child, the child’s hand will go up to protect itself. Why, it’s instinctive to stay alive. And so everyone has a right to defend their life.” Even a child’s instinct is to stay alive. Let that sink in for a moment. What additional data point does one need?
While I’m not a fan of the Catholic Church, one does pause, knowing Arch Bishop Wuerl got your back saying its instinct to stay alive.
Anti-gun crowd take note, how does one counter, legislate, restrict, the instincts of a child?
From the anti-gun crowd, the answer is easy. Tie the child’s hands behind its back. Because peace and love and unicorns.
Good for this Catholic. No pacifist rhetoric in my very large Baptist church in NW Indiana. And God commands me to take care of my own-to the death. I have no problem if believers think differently. That is their problem(cross to bear?). And I’ve noticed these pacifists expect the gubmint to protect them…
As a Christian I am a long-term optimist and a short-term pessimist, or Praise the LORD and Pass the ammunition so to speak. We’re a Bible-teaching protestant non-denominational church about 2000 strong and growing.
It is not made obvious, but about 1/2 of the church ushers and deacons are retired or current LEO and carry concealed at every service. The Lord will protect my soul and usher it into His Presence, but until then there are many dangers afoot and a willingness and ability to counter-attack, when necessary, is prudent and does not display a lack of faith in God, only a reality of the curse of man.
May all of your targets be paper, in Jesus’ name. Amen.
“… a willingness and ability to counter-attack, when necessary, is prudent and does not display a lack of faith in God, only a reality of the curse of man.”
That is fantastic! I will shamelessly use that statement as often as I possibly can.
I have never understood why some churches seek to disarm all of their congregation. An usher with a welcoming smile and friendly greeting, and perhaps a suspicious bulge, should cause no problems that I can think of.
That’s encouraging to see.
Glad more catholics are looking into what the catechism says on this topic.
2258 “Human life is sacred because from its beginning it involves the creative action of God and it remains for ever in a special relationship with the Creator, who is its sole end. God alone is the Lord of life from its beginning until its end: no one can under any circumstance claim for himself the right directly to destroy an innocent human being.”
2265 Legitimate defense can be not only a right but 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. For this reason, those who legitimately hold authority also have the right to use arms to repel aggressors against the civil community entrusted to their responsibility.
But I encourage those interested to see the entire section for full context.
Depending on your level of involvement, many of us are “responsible for the lives of others” in some manner or another. I know that is how I view my family and close friends when it comes to potential “unjust aggressors” attempting to us harm. Due to my libertarian political philosophy I’d even say ” those who legitimately hold authority” is just another way of saying “every sovereign man and woman” since that is where just political authority is derived from.
That may be what you’d mean when you wrote that sentence. I am sure they meant “cops and soldiers.”
Because of this, and not seeing “arms” mentioned elsewhere but specifically called out here to give cops and soldiers permission to carry arms, I therefore doubt the church is saying its OK for Joe Public to use arms in self defense. Which would make the church f-ing wrong.
Sometimes hard to say for certain without asking the writers – or council of writers in this case. Constitutions are fun like that. I’d say its a good thing that the Church’s legitimate role is the promulgation of faith and morals in the Apostolic tradition left to us by Jesus, and not defining what constitutes the technical specifics of a legitimate secular authority (or proper economic system, or what the best material would be for laying the foundation of a cathedral would be). While the Church (bishops, clergy, laymen) can espouse Christian ideals to be achieved and morals to adhere to (such as less violence in the world, or better working conditions…etc..etc), if they go further and promote specific solutions to achieve those ends that are technically at odds with their stated ends (do not achieve their ends / actually work against their ends), they are just as wrong as anyone else.
The Church want less violence and overwhelming evidence tells us that certain anti-social elements in this world need a reasonable fear of justified self defense: hence we own and carry firearms. Same reason I have no problem reconciling a market-anarchist tradition like that espoused by Rothbard and a Roman Catholic faith. You want to feed the poor? Then become the richest man in the world through your legitimate entrepreneurial endeavors and give it all away and stop asking governments to tax it away from the wealth producers. You want less violence? Then show that there are real consequences to violent anti-social behavior. That isn’t necessarily to say that the Bishop in this instance is wrong either with his reprimand. Peaceful solutions should be the norm, and should be the ideal that these Bishops promote in their proper authority. May all your targets be paper, was the phrase from another poster here.
Hey, I’m solidly libertarian. With respect to what the Catholic Church is doing here, though, I have to call it like I see it. It’s not a libertarian institution, it is a very authoritarian and hierarchical one, and if you think it can be bent into a libertarian shape you’re deluding yourself.
Maybe another Reformation will fix it. But I wouldn’t hold my breath.
The Church in America is the heart and soul of the anti-2A lunacy. Without the Church maintaining it’s gunhate position and millions of Catholics who follow it, the anti-2A “movement” in America would dry up and blow away.
In that context, this letter by a parish priest is an act of remarkable courage. To Fr. Fride, kudos. To his parishioners, you are fortunate to have him as your spiritual leader.
“In that context, this letter by a parish priest is an act of remarkable courage.”
I had the same exact thought … followed almost immediately by the thought that the church is probably working right now to re-assign this priest to a church on the northernmost shores of Alaska at some Inuit village.
It wouldn’t surprise me at all. They’ll treat him like a pedophile.
That’s not true. They’ll actually put a stop to this guy.
He’d probably be happy there. I can’t imagine that parishoners in Alaska bother to ask for permission before they arm themselves.
It will be only a short matter of time before the Mother Church comes in to shut him down.
Cool thing about not being Catholic: not having men with funny hats tell you what to do.
And the guys in the funny hats are always taking direct orders from the Scarlet Whore of Rome to tell us to eat fish on Fridays and worship statues.
Not “always”, don’t exaggerate so. Significant portions of the week are dedicated to molesting little boys.
I’ll just say this once and then leave off: there were/are the media hysteria and wild reports of this and that; to make a long story short, the actual abuse of children by RC clergy was and is wildly exaggerated, not least by anti-Catholic bigots and haters. Most of the sexual activity by clergy was either consensual or close to it and involved relations between homosexual clergy and teens, not toddler choirboys. Or clergy amongst each other. Yes, there was abuse, and yes, Church leadership was lax to the point of evil in ignoring it for so long and for passing priest along to some different diocese or parish and not telling anyone about him. I would happily kick the chair out from under any clergy or leadership who abused or ignored the abuse of children. That said, it gets a bit tiring to hear the same old media crap repeated over and over again uncritically, especially by people who are already aware of how firearms ownership and use is treated by that same media. And isn’t it interesting that the folks joyfully bashing the Catholic Church and its clergy usually have nothing to say about the same levels of abuse known to occur in the other denominations, in synagogues, in public and private schools, and the horrific practices of the hadjis since time immemorial.
Usually I find that the people most often repeating the media fantasies and hate have had some negative experience or other back when they were kids themselves or young adults, and for that they throw the baby out with the bathwater and fail to recognize that the whole Church is not like that. A priest or a nun yelled at them once; a priest somewhere wouldn’t let someone get married or buried for some reason; the Church failed to grant an annulment; etc., etc. Forever banished from their lives, which is truly sad. And then to attempt to cause hurt and pain to faithful parishioners and believers who never hurt anybody themselves but are grieving over the tiny percentage of child abuse that actually did occur and the continuing repercussions, where they end up being punished most of all.
Wow. The level of denial and excuse-making is beyond amazing.
A pacifist that calls on someone else to protect him is not a pacifist. He is a coward.
Leaving the theology aside, the sociology of this happening in liberal Ann Arbor is striking. Maybe a priest in Nancy Pelosi’s home district, or even her home church, could be prevailed upon to take the same position? Or Andy Cuomo’s priest?
I’ve known a lot of priests over the year who believe in self-defense. One priest I knew always carried a 5 inch folding knife, as he said, “Every good Irishman carries a blade”. I also know he kept a 9 mm in the rectory.
The church is like any other organization – statists and those who acquiesce tend to make it into leadership positions. The problem for The Church is we are just starting to get new bishops who have realized accommodating the political leadership only causes the State to walk all over you.
The Church was not always run by the weak-willed. It is a recent aberration of the last 50 years.
I will never set foot – and more importantly, will never bring my family – into a church that would attemot to deny my right to bear arms in defense of myself and my family.
This is generally never a problem in small, independent Christian churches.
Wow Chip my independent Baptist church in NW INdiana has up to 20000 on Sunday. BTW I saw your You-tube singing. Great!
I’ll never set foot in one because my wife who went to Her Church her whole life refused to marry us because I was divorced. The only way she would be allowed is if my former wife wrote a letter to the Church denying our marriage…tough to do being we were married for ten years and have a son. Had to sit across a Chaplin during at pre wedding family ceremony. Didn’t say a word to him.
What in the world would make a church believe a person’s armament, if any, was any of its business?
I am shocked because the U.S. Catholic Church sold us conservatuve Catholics up the river to the the Progressives in the FDR years.
For years, I have been the sheep that got lost, but this spoke to me.
“There is a time for everything under the sun…”
A time to be peaceful, and a time to shoot.
“When the police are expressing the fact that they cannot now sufficiently cover the areas assigned to them and are explicitly encouraging people to arm themselves and carry, who is the expert in the field of our protection that we should listen to more than them?”
As a devout agnostic, I have just one word to say to this priest: