Catholic bishops: It’s pro-life to ban assault weapons

Some things seem naturally abhorrent – forceps to crush a cranium in an abortion, a needle to deliver a sentence … Continued

Some things seem naturally abhorrent – forceps to crush a cranium in an abortion, a needle to deliver a sentence intravenously on death row, and an assault weapon in the hands of the man on the street. Each instrument may have a purpose some time, somewhere, but as used above, each reflects brutality in our society.

The Catholic Church opposes use of all three instruments to take a life. The church’s pro-life stand against abortion is undisputed. So is its pro-life stand in opposition to the death penalty. It can only be justified if there is no other way to keep a deadly criminal from hurting more people. And in the most recent – and all too common – threat to human life, the church opposes the growing preponderance of lethal weapons on the streets. It stands as another important pro-life position.

The injustice of taking innocent life lies at the heart of the church’s pro-life position. There is no question about the innocence of pre-born children. And Americans are becoming more and more uneasy as we learn of people on death row eventually found innocent of the crimes for which they were convicted. And surely, after the gunning down of primary grade children in Newtown, Connecticut, it is clear assault weapons stand out dramatically as a threat to innocent life.

The U.S. bishops now call on people to support federal legislation to require background checks for all gun purchases, to limit civilian access to high-capacity weapons and ammunition magazines and to make gun trafficking a federal crime. The bishops also want a ban on assault weapons.

A mere look at the evening news drives home the fact that we are living in a culture of violence and it affects us all. It undercuts the sense of peace we all need. It clouds our view of the beauty about us. It drives away joy and fuels a pervading sense of sadness.

Catholics have opposed abortion for centuries and have become activists against it since 1973, when the Supreme Court voted to permit abortion up until a child was born. With society’s increased ability to isolate murderers from those they would harm, the death penalty, which seems to deny the possibility of redemption, no longer can be justified. The church now sees that protecting innocent life also means limiting the means of taking it, that is, limiting weapons that pose a danger to anyone going off to kindergarten, strolling on a college campus, watching a movie at a cineplex or speaking at a political rally at a shopping mall.

A pro-life stance is a noble one. Sadly it must confront the ignoble reality of abortion, the death penalty, and another threat to peace and human life, the preponderance of assault weapons.

Sister Mary Ann Walsh is Director of Media Relations for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

  • Mik1000

    It’s MORE pro-life to preach on the evil of contraception. Where are the press releases on that? Where is the sanctimonious high-minded rambling about that? The bishops’ conference cares about aligning itself with the democratic party’s goal of social engineering (sans abortion – which it does little to fight against) and that’s it.

    Come back Sr. when you have something to say which actually corresponds to the Magisterium of the Catholic Church, not something trying to pass itself off as official teaching.

    She should be honest in her evaluation and OPINION piece and present it as such. An opinion and nothing else. For that matter, maybe they should just keep their opinions to themselves and stick to matters of faith and morals.

    This constant need to open their mouths on every single piece of democratic party agenda items continues to eat away at what little credibility that might still be held for them by some people.

  • XVIIHailSkins

    I’m guessing you’re one of the .05% of American Catholics who have never used contraception. It must be nice to know that all the others are headed straight for the inferno.

  • Colette Ivers

    Abortion is the greatest weapon of mass destruction with approx 46,000,000 worldwide annually. if we can’t respect the innocent life in the womb, it’s no wonder there is a decline in respect for all of life and increased use and abuse of guns to take life. Its not a gun in a pocket that is required but more love in hearts.

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