The beginning of the editorial that I put in my column last week certainly raised some interest among parishioners…not all of it good. I do appreciate the feedback people gave me, both positive and negative. Some of you were wondering if I had lost my mind (a point that can be argued for many reasons). It is good to know you are reading my column. This week I would like to explain why the article caught my attention and I decided to share it with you.
Growing up on the farm we did have guns. I remember a double barrel shot gun and a 22 rifle. Occasionally my brothers and I would go hunting, mostly for squirrels. Since my eye sight has never been good the squirrels were pretty safe from me. I never remember shooting one. Often times I have heard people talk about hunting with great passion. I see the joy that it brings them and I’m glad for them. It has never been a passion of mine, but I am glad others enjoy it.
My first assignment as pastor was to St. Louis Church on 60th and Swope Parkway. People asked me if I was going to buy a gun for protection. If someone broke into the rectory I could only imagine shooting myself in the foot and saying to the robber, “The next one is meant for you.” There were a few robberies when I was there, but getting a gun was never an option I considered. It seemed safer and better to replace the items that were stolen. I wasn’t there very long when two young men from the parish were shot and killed. Apparently they got into an argument with people they knew and guns were fired. A teenager from the parish went to a Justice and Peace Institute put on by the diocese for our youth. The Youth Director at that time told me he was glad that he was at the Institute because he gave a different perspective to other teens about the issues of peace and justice. When this youth was asked what he was going to do when he went home to work for peace and justice his reply was, “I’m going to go home and bury my gun.” In my next parish a young girl (8th grade) committed suicide using her father’s gun.
I know all of these experiences influence my thoughts about guns. I am not against them, but I know from personal experiences the harm that can be caused by them. The editorial I began to print in the bulletin made me think about the problem of gun control in our country. The editorial called for repeal of the 2nd amendment so that greater gun control could be enacted. I’m not sure that is the answer (I know there are some of you who do not believe that is the answer), but it seems to me we as a country need to be mindful of the problem and work to determine solutions. I am not going to print the rest of the editorial in the bulletin. I will make copies available that you can take to read if you wish. There is one last quote from the editorial that I will end with.
In the wake of Newtown, Cardinal Timothy Dolan said that “the fight for greater gun control in the country” is a pro-life position. “The unfettered access to assault weapons and handguns, along with the glorification of violence in our entertainment industry…is really all part of a culture of death,” Cardinal Dolan said.
Pray for life.