I grew up Catholic. My mother is still a devout Catholic. My dad follows the best he can, and my sister and her kids are all Catholic and my brother’s wife recently converted from Mormonism to Catholicism. My parents sent me to a Catholic school. I went to St. John’s the Evangilist Catholic elementary school in Loveland, Colorado, kindergarten through 6th grade. I went to mass every Friday, all necessary church masses (holidays), and of course every Sunday. Every . . . single . . . Sunday . . .
Although I’m no longer Catholic, my Catholic father is responsible for my love of guns and shooting. My Catholic brother (who is also a Marine) is by far one of my favorite people to go shooting with. His newly Catholic wife took her concealed carry class with me in Colorado. I’ve never seen the Catholic faith and firearms production, ownership or use as mutually exclusive. Until now . . .
In a speech in Turin, Pope Francis made a bold statement: weapons manufacturers shouldn’t call themselves Christians. I find it a little strange that the Pope chose to ostracize workers who provide the tools to people exercising their God-given right of self defense. Tools that people use to protect the Pope, including the heavily armed Vatican Swiss Guard.
The Pope’s condemnation of weapons makers isn’t just a little hypocritical; it borders on insanity. This pope has spent more time condemning anyone not following a communist philosophy than actually preaching love and kindness and compassion. Gone are the days of Pope John Paul II, who instead of bashing others and looking down on freedom, taught love.
With all due respect, Pope Francis isn’t the person I would be taking religious or political advice from. I’m not sure what it is about freedom that bothers this particular pope, but his willingness to use force and coercion through his words is a concern to me. Catholics (and all Christisns for that matter) shouldn’t fear carrying guns. The Catholic Bible even says in Luke 22:36,
RSV-CE Luke 22:36 “He said to them, but now let him who has a purse take it, and likewise a bag. And let him who has no sword sell his cloak and buy one.”
So it’s OK for Christians to carry swords for self-defense (the modern day equivalent of a firearm) but the sword manufacturer can’t call himself a Christian?
I am a lapsed Catholic, but my morality was informed by my religious instruction. I continue to believe that life is sacred. That it should be defended. That the strong should defend the weak. This they – we cannot do with words alone. That’s just as true in Jesus’ time as it is now. I wish the Pope understood this simple point, as so many Catholics who make and/or keep and bear arms do. As so many people do.