Shootings demonstrate need for gun control, USCCB says


Why are the Catholic bishops getting involved in issues that are not issues of morality or ethics or religion?

If they concentrated on morality and ethics and religion they could convince people to alter their adverse behaviors.


I like this post, though I suppose it is easily dismissed. We easily recognize that expertise is not a requirement to teach on matters of sex and marriage, accepting celibate bishops as the authority to teach about that on which they have no experience. We understand that their expertise is moral theology is sufficient. Yet when it comes to many other social issues, we reject this same premise, arguing then that their lack of expertise and experience makes them unqualified.

I release put out was on morality. I know that many American Catholics think they would be a better bishop than any bishop. We have allowed our right to an opinion become greater than our obligation to be a disciple, as in a student.


Calling people out as being narrowly selfish is a rash and uncharitable judgment of people, not of policies. When such personal condemnations are made by the clergy it is all the worse for that.

Perhaps, but that’s not what the debate is about. The bishops offered their own proposals for reducing gun violence, proposals that are neither more nor less moral than anyone else’s proposals, which is not surprising as there is no moral component in them. All of your “moral” considerations reduce to the same thing: “You people don’t care.” They are judgments of people, not of proposals.

No, I’m saying that appealing to the Constitution is a tactic for opposing what are seen as unworkable, unwanted, and illegal proposals to control access to guns.

I think your example is counter productive as it shows the effort necessary to ensure that criminals cannot use guns. The controls involved in providing airplane security are so excessive no one could conceivably imagine extending them nationwide, yet - and this is the point the anti-gun control people make - this is the only way to ensure that criminals can’t use them. It is easy to keep the law abiding citizen from getting a firearm. It is extraordinarily difficult to prevent the lawless from acquiring them.


The bishops did not call anyone out. They did not name names. They were not personal condemnations. They were not uncharitable.

There was very little in the way of specific proposals. I think you are grasping at straws to find things wrong with the bishops. Talk about uncharitable!

If so, then it is a dishonest tactic. For if the proposals are unworkable, they should be criticized on those grounds. The Constitution has no moral standing - any more than a poll of citizens. It is the law of the land and must be followed for as long as it is such, but it can be changed and then it would no longer have that effect.

I have heard that argument made. I just don’t happen to believe it.


Gun control does not work.

They eliminated guns in possession of airline pilots [airline pilots carrying handguns in their flight kits] and as a result we got the 9/11 hijackings.

If they had been carrying pistols, the airline pilots could have defended their aircraft.

But the airline pilots were totally defenseless and we ended up with the pilots getting their throats cut and their airplanes being hijacked.


This is silly because gun control is not designed to deprive those in authority. Pilots are in authority. Pilots going without guns was a purely internal policy decision and not the result of the general push for gun control.


no it isn’t.

i can be pro gun or anti-gun neither one makes me immoral. i can believe more guns reduce gun violence: this doesn’t make me immoral.

are you immoral for making folks defenseless and subject to being killed by criminals because you want to take away guns from those who need them most (gun free zones)? a person can’t fulfill their catholic duty of defending their family in a gun free zone.

you just don’t get it. all of the laws on the books have not worked but you want to condemn those of us that have seen through the hype to the reality and want to properly protect our families until the situation changes. as i pointed out with your airport scenario all you did was stop the law abiding. you won’t stop someone intent on killing.

the root cause is the moral issue: not the tool… the reason they want to kill is the moral issue; but, that doesn’t fit your agenda.

as a reminder:
950,000 abortions
64000 drug overdoses
40200 car deaths
13515 murders (9616 gun related)


there are so many different gun control groups and some want to disarm cops so this isn’t necessarily true.

i can’t tell a fringe gun control group or supporter from others.

gabby gifford just came out to ban muzzle-loaders? you need to explain that one to me. would anyone bring a muzzle loader to a mass killing.

tell me again these groups don’t want the gun owners gun.


except in this case, call it what it is


and that is gun controls ultimate desire.

except in 67 out of 70 test it didn’t work. all they did was disarm the law abiding citizen while the criminal is still armed.


[quote=“pnewton, post:314, topic:457322, full:true” Schools are gun free because teenagers do not need guns,

As an FYI, my nephew’s High School has a Shotgun Club and a Skeet team. The students do bring their guns to school for practice.

But that is a Catholic school, so public school rules don’t apply.


The measure of how well a policy worked is how many lives were saved - not how many test guns got through screening. And according to that proper measure, it does work. As for your first comment, the bishops are not so concerned about preserving an arbitrary right to have a gun as they are in preserving human life. Let’s keep our priorities straight.

Actually I have heard more calls for disarming cops from gun rights people than from gun control people. Gun control people do not call for disarming cops.

Relax. No one is saying you are immoral.

Bringing guns into the schoolyard may feel like a good idea, but it is a terrible idea - unless those guns are handled by trained officials.

There is no Catholic duty to carry a gun.


Like: Sampson demonstrates need for jawbones of asses control, Judges 15:15-16 says.


I don’t think guns will ever go away in any significant numbers. At the legislative level, there is simply too much money involved. As long as passions run high and the debate continues, the money keeps flowing to Washington. We may see some small tweaks in legislation, but really, the only criteria used to make those tweaks will be keeping the passions and debate running high. Guns aren’t going away. It’s not profitable for Washington to do so.


Everything is true as far as it goes. What is unsaid is what is implied. When the bishops comment on something it comes with the implication that they are making moral judgments, not merely political ones. If that is so then what does that imply about people who reject the bishops’ proposals? It is seen not merely as a valid disagreement over two competing sides of a practical matter, but as a rejection of a moral obligation.

My comments apply to every specific political proposal the bishops make, whether they are few or many.

They are criticized on those grounds, and those criticisms have been roundly rejected by those on the gun control side. It demonstrates the inflexibility of the opposition when appeal to our most fundamental law is considered a dishonest tactic.


Different people draw different implications from what is “not said.” I think it goes too far to criticize the bishops if some people feel they have been specifically “called out” by the bishops for being immoral when in fact the bishops did no such thing. The bishops speak the truth as they see it, and I applaud them for it. If some people take offense from what they say, that is their problem with their overactive imagination.

OK, then I take it you are only criticizing a small part of the bishops’ statement. I can understand that.

But those aren’t the criticisms we are talking about here. We are talking about criticisms of the bishops’ place in making any statement at all about gun control.

You have made quite big deal about distinguishing between moral grounds and practical (amoral) grounds for arguments. The implication is that the bishops should only comment on moral questions. But then you support your position by reference to an amoral document. So I call that a dishonest tactic because it purports to be about morals when it is just about the current state of law. It is like arguing for pro-choice policies based on Roe-v-Wade. It lacks a moral foundation.


No one has been specifically “called out”; nor did I suggest otherwise. When a bishop takes a political stand, however, when his position is rejected the typical argument is that the disagreement is with the church, not the bishop, or, as you have been doing, arguing that there is a moral component to political issues, which surely suggests that this is the bishops’ position, thus whoever opposes the bishops has chosen the immoral side. It is the implication that a bishop’s political views are somehow more moral than anyone else’s that I object to.

I’m sure we all speak the truth as we see it, but their political views are opinions, not moral truths.

My comments were directed at their specific proposals, however many or few they may be. This is also a topic I have addressed this same way for years. When the bishops eschew publicizing their political preferences I’ll not have anything to object to. I’m not holding my breath.

You raised the issue. I responded to it. I’m happy to return to criticizing the bishops’ comments.

No, you’re mixing arguments. My objection to the bishops is one thing, my defense of the arguments used by others is something else entirely.

Again, you have conflated two different arguments, and the responses I make to one are not applicable to the other.


If you do not like that implication, don’t draw it.

You use the term “political” as a pejorative quite a lot in this argument. So perhaps we should look at the definition:

of or relating to government, a government, or the conduct of government

I can think of several places in the Catechism that address government, duties of citizens toward government, and duties of governments. By this definition they are clearly political. See sections 1897-1927, for example. So I don’t think it is quite the pejorative you think it is. If the Catechism can mention political issues, why can’t the bishops?


Well, the more often the bishops speak out on political issues the less likely people are to assume any of their comments deal with morality. I guess they’re solving that particular problem on their own.

You’ve assumed I mean the term as a pejorative, but I use it in exactly the way you’ve defined it. Of or relating to the conduct of government. My point is that this is a lay responsibility, and bishops rarely contribute anything of substance when they engage in political discussions.

Perhaps you should give this section of the Catechism more consideration:

2442 It is not the role of the Pastors of the Church to intervene directly in the political structuring and organization of social life. This task is part of the vocation of the lay faithful, acting on their own initiative with their fellow citizens. Social action can assume various concrete forms. It should always have the common good in view and be in conformity with the message of the Gospel and the teaching of the Church. It is the role of the laity "to animate temporal realities with Christian commitment, by which they show that they are witnesses and agents of peace and justice."230


Intervening directly in the political structure and the organization of social life” would be when a clergy person runs for political office, or when the Church officially organizes a petition drive. I suppose Fr. Frank Pavone is closer to intervening in this manner than the US bishops. Just look at and click on “Join the Movement” and then scroll down a few paragraphs for “Be Politically Active” and tell me how that is not speaking out on political matters.


There can be no progress in this debate. When reject the authority of the bishop do decide what is and is not a moral issue and substitute our own opinion in place of that authority, whether the issue is abortion, immigration, gun control, same-sex marriage or any other political issue, there is no common ground.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit