Shootings demonstrate need for gun control, USCCB says


Nor can there be progress when one side makes claims and then refuses to give any evidence to substantiate them. You and others have claimed moral content in political issues, yet have not once provided an example where this is so other than that very small handful of questions the church has identified as intrinsically evil. You speak to the authority of bishops, yet their authority is exclusively in the realm of faith and morals. They are no more authorities on gun control than we are, and their opinions carry no particular weight simply because they see fit to air them.


When a member of the clergy speaks outside of his domain, such as when giving his opinion on who will win the Super Bowl, it is apparent from the tone of their conversation that they do not intend their opinion to merit any special weight. They know and we know it. But it is apparent from the tone of this document that the bishops intended this statement to be one that the faithful should listen to with special attention beyond what one or two of them may think is going to win the Super Bowl. You may think they are speaking out of turn, but they do not think so. So your accusation that they are doing so is a very serious one against the bishops of the Catholic Church in the US. Not to get into any specific defense of the correctness of their assumption, but aren’t you the least bit concerned to put yourself in such an adversarial position with respect to these appointed leaders of our Church?


You keep trying to turn this into a “me against the church” contest without ever addressing the specifics of my comments. I’m not surprised by this as I don’t see any way to deal with the actual point I’ve raised. Why does this document merit special consideration? Because they think it does?

Regardless of what a bishop thinks about the validity of his political proposals, when it comes to practical solutions to practical problems, his opinions carry no special weight simply because they are his. This is not to say there is no place where it is appropriate for the bishops to get involved, only that in the overwhelming majority of instances it isn’t useful for us and is probably harmful for them.

They do not have “authority” of any kind in areas outside of faith and morals. When they imply authority in other areas all they do is diminish the respect they are due where their authority is real.


No, just you against the bishops. They think their statement is worth making. You do not. I just asked if that makes you uncomfortable. For example, if you were given five minutes to speak to an assembly of the USCCB, would you feel comfortable telling them that their statement was outside of their proper domain?

I thought I did.

As a first approximation, yes! That is an excellent reason.

You keep talking about “practical solutions,” but which detailed “practical solution” did the bishops propose? I did not see any.

It is an oversimplification to reduce the concept of respect for their authority to a binary choice between (1) infallible binding doctrine and (2) and opinion on the level of who might win the Super Bowl. Just looking at our parish priest, it seems that 99% of what he does in his capacity as priest for us is somewhere between those two extremes. His homilies rarely consist of simply quoting sections of the Catechism or decisions of Church councils. If his homilies were of no more importance than the opinion of my neighbor, then I might as well take out my smartphone and browse Facebook during the homily as listen to him. By placing the clergy in a box as you have done you reduce them to little more than a doctrine vending machine for looking up points in the Catechism. I can tell you that the Internet is much better at accessing the Catechism than talking to a priest, if that is all they are worth.


Whatever, it is an attempt to characterize my position as being wrong by definition: me against the bishops. That rather grossly overstates the case. I have been very specific in expressing my opposition to their forays into politics. That I feel they are sometimes wrong hardly means I oppose them categorically.

No, it makes me upset and disappointed.

In a heartbeat. I would relish the opportunity to raise this concern.

Perhaps a closer reading of the document would be useful. From the article in the OP:

…the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has encouraged public debate on gun control, suggesting specific policies that might quell gun violence.

The bishop emphasized the USCCB’s previous support for gun control, mentioning their support for a 1994 federal ban on assault weapons, which expired without being renewed in 2004.

Additionally, Dewane mentioned that the USCCB has suggested policies for better background checks, limitations to high-powered weapons, more laws criminalizing gun traffic, improved access to mental health care, and increased safety measures on guns.

It is an oversimplification, but since I’ve not done that don’t characterize it as my position.

Without hearing any of his homilies, I’m willing to bet he doesn’t spend much time offering his personal opinions on specific policy proposals.

This is just another variant of your “me against the bishops” charge. Your position would have merit if we knew that bishops never erred, but since we know from recent painful experience that this is not so, my arguments need to be addressed on their merits, not simply dismissed as bishop bashing.


By the way, I am still interested in what you have to say about and Fr. Frank Pavone’s speaking out on political matters that I cited earlier.


Appeal to authority.


i am not.

we are to prove all things

as we have seen in the past they are not perfect. (coverups)

they have recently been viewed as resisting the pope, should catholics follow?


OK, fair enough, but before I go there and actually read what has been said let me reiterate my position, which will apply to Fr. Pavone as well as the bishops. The clergy should not interject itself into political issues to the extent of supporting or opposing specific policy proposals. They are certainly justified in raising awareness of problems affecting - especially - the needy. They should, however, limit themselves to arguing at the level of “feed the hungry”, “help the poor”, “heal the sick”, that is, they can and should address the objectives that we should attempt to resolve, but they should not extend those assertions to “feed the hungry by increasing food stamps”, “help the poor by raising the minimum wage”, or “heal the sick by not repealing Obamacare.”

The exceptions to this are all with those issues the church has deemed categorically evil: abortion, euthanasia, gay “marriage”, etc. In these cases, and I think in these alone, they may specifically oppose any proposal that is obviously contrary to church doctrine. Since there are no doctrines on the effectiveness of food stamp programs, the minimum wage, and Obamacare the clergy should not speak as if there were.


Regarding Fr. Pavone and his Priests For Life organization: given that (what I saw of) the topic of his website is solely about abortion and how to combat it, it falls under the exceptions I mentioned. Abortion is not merely a political issue. For the church it is a quintessentially moral one, and as the church has a doctrine on it (it is intrinsically evil) then attempts to end what is the great moral failure of our time involves political action. The key point here is that opposing opinions on the validity of abortion are not equally valid. Unlike the minimum wage, food stamp programs, and health programs, where there is no moral distinction between sides, only one position with regard to abortion is morally acceptable.

You have in the past argued that this might not preclude valid differences on which approach is more effective at reducing abortions, and to an extent this is valid. Where it ceases being valid is at the point where a policy accepts access to abortion as an appropriate tactic.


Beats rejection of authority all to pieces.


Gun control merely keeps guns out of the hands of law abiding persons.

Non-law-abiding persons will find a way to get guns.


I think we can all agree that a certain level of gun control is valid. Just as we have controls on who can drive a truck, how old you have to be to smoke or buy alcohol, it is reasonable to have reasonable controls on guns, for while it is true that laws won’t prevent the lawless from obtaining guns, it will certainly make it significantly more difficult for those who obviously shouldn’t have easy access to them from obtaining them. After all, mass murderers don’t typically seem to be criminals.

On the other hand, we seem to have most of those common sense precautions in place already, even if those officials who are supposed to be implementing the laws don’t always follow them.

It ought to be clear that simply adding more restrictions on ownership has very limited usefulness. That should be apparent from the gun problems they’re having in Chicago, which despite some of the most restrictive policies in the country suffers from the most gun violence. Throwing more and more restrictions on lawful gun ownership is really not the solution, and given that it is so obviously ineffective it is hardly surprising that those who choose to own a gun see calls for more restrictions as simply another step on the way to a full scale ban and confiscation. Why else would someone call for more and more limits on private ownership?


@leafbyniggle No, it does not. There’s reason it’s a logical fallacy.

Defend the issues on substance.


Since you are replying to pnewton, it is not clear what comment of mine you are referring to here.

So you have made clear. It just so happens that many others still do have confidence in our bishops.


Naw. Look at the financials of Remington, Sturm Ruger, Smith & Wesson, Glock, SIG Suaer, Browning/Winchester, etc., etc. All added together they don’t equate to a single Ford, Toyota or even a fraction of an Apple.


The NRA? They are comparable to Planned Parenthood in terms of net worth, and being the major bedfellow of one of the two major parties… not comparable in mission though, thankfully


Prove it. Further, your attempted linkage of the NRA and PP is repugnant.

Not even close. Both parties have plenty of “bedfellows.”


What do you mean by “valid”? As in efficacious? No. As in legal? No. As in “feels good”? Yes.

Driving trucks, smoking, drink, etc. are not constitutionally guaranteed rights. Keeping and bearing arms is.


The NRA has a lot of money. see specifics below

I am simply making a comparison in terms of lobbying power, not in morality or what have you

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