Advocating for Gun Control

It’s been an extremely full week in terms of news, with Monday’s surprising announcement from Pope Benedict, and Wednesday’s start of Lent.  But I wanted to be sure to take a moment to highlight the President’s call for sensible steps on gun control in his State of the Union address Tuesday night, as well as similar actions by Governor Cuomo here in New York State, and Mayor Bloomberg in New York City.

Gun control has been much on my mind since the Newtown killings, and, in particular, seeing the devastating effects that gun violence can bring when I celebrated the funeral Mass at Saint Mary of the Assumption parish in Katonah for Anne Marie Murphy, a brave teacher who died in that horrible tragedy, protecting her little student.

Advocating for gun control is not something new for the Church.  The Holy See has continuously been a strong voice in opposition to international arms trading, the world’s version of gun control; it’s even in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the official teaching of the Catholic faith (see numbers 2315-2316 in particular) .   Here in the United States, the bishops have for decades supported measures to get handguns off the streets, and to ban assault weapons.  To cite but one instance, in Responsibility, Rehabilitation, and Restoration, released in 2000, the bishops reiterated their support for legislative efforts that seek to protect society from the violence associated with easy access to deadly weapons. “As bishops, we support measures that control the sale and use of firearms and make them safer (especially efforts that prevent their unsupervised use by children and anyone other than the owner), and we reiterate our call for sensible regulation of handguns.”

That’s why I found myself nodding in agreement when the President said, “I know this is not the first time this country has debated how to reduce gun violence.  But this time is different.  Overwhelming majorities of Americans — Americans who believe in the Second Amendment — have come together around common-sense reform, like background checks that will make it harder for criminals to get their hands on a gun.  Senators of both parties are working together on tough new laws to prevent anyone from buying guns for resale to criminals.  Police chiefs are asking our help to get weapons of war and massive ammunition magazines off our streets, because these police chiefs, they’re tired of seeing their guys and gals being outgunned.”  It’s also why I was very much in favor a month ago when our own New York State legislature, heeding the call of Governor Cuomo, passed NY Safe, (New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act) the most comprehensive gun control bill in the country.

Whenever I mention my support for gun control, the calls and emails come in, telling me that I’m naïve, reminding me of the Second Amendment to our Constitution, and arguing that the only thing gun control measures will accomplish is to keep guns out of the hands of honest, law-abiding people.

I don’t pretend to be an expert on what should be in each specific bill, and I will never be an authority on the number of bullets that should be in an ammo clip, or the proper way to conduct background checks before selling someone a firearm.  That’s the proper responsibility of our legislators, and, should constitutional questions arise, of our courts.  However, there can be no denying that, in the wake of Newtown, Aurora, Blacksburg, Tucson, Columbine, and almost countless other horrific and senseless deaths by guns, that something must be done.

For me, regulating and controlling guns is part of building a Culture of Life, of doing what we can to protect and defend human life.  The easy access to guns, including assault weapons, that exists in our nation has contributed towards a Culture of Death, where human life and dignity are cheapened by the threat of violence.  No law, no piece of legislation, will ever be able to protect us from every act of aggression, or from the harm that can come from an individual bent on killing.  But, we must do what we can to minimize the opportunities for such acts, by limiting the easy access to guns – and, I would add, by increasing funding for programs to treat those who suffer from mental illness, especially those that might lead someone to commit mass murder.

I have a long list of things to pray for this Lent.  Asking God’s help that our elected representatives in Washington and in state houses across the country have the courage and the wisdom to pass meaningful and effective gun control bills, will certainly have a prominent place in those prayers.

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53 Responses to “Advocating for Gun Control”

  1. datechguy says:

    I respect and appreciate your opinion on this matter Cardinal but I’m afraid the solution proposed would achieve exactly the opposite of the goal, to build the culture of life.

    I would point to the parallel paths of the gun control culture and the abortion culture, but I”d simply note that the culture of life was the norm at a time when gun control legislation was rare.

    As Christ said it is not what is from without that corrupts, it is what comes from within, we need to change what comes from within in order to establish the culture of life.

  2. Steven Dunn says:

    Perhaps., Eminence, you should consider your Jewish neighbors thoughts before considering gun control.

  3. Lamont Applegate says:

    Cardinal Dolan,
    Do you have bodyguards, and are they armed? I cannot afford a security team. Therefore,, I must defend myself until police arrive. I will surrender my guns upon my death or our Lord’s return which ever comes first.
    Lamont Applegate
    stated usertysc

  4. Cardinal Dolan, I respectfully disagree with your position. I assume this is your position because of the infestations of crime in the 2nd Amendment-unfriendly metropolises like NYC.

    Firstly, background checks *are always required. We know by the FBI’s own statistics that more citizens who are lawfully armed leads to less crime in their areas. Law enforcement knows this very well. It is only sensible for a law-abiding citizen to own firearms in order to protect the well-being of their family. Living in a “culture of death,” we need to have the means to protect ourselves from those who lack the moral compass taught by Christianity and who would seek to take advantage of those who are easy prey and cannot defend themselves.

    It is the policy of victim disarmament, openly advertising gun-free zones at our schools, that invite this sort of behavior by mentally deranged citizens who have the intentions of hurting the weakest among society, our children. They know they will encounter no resistance and can carry out their diabolical plans without hindrance.

    What the media has not focused on, and what we should be focused on, is that in almost every instance these perpetrators of horrific shootings are always on some sort of serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SRI); a class of drugs that are hallucinogens. (Prozac, Xanax, Luvox, Celexa, Zoloft, Effexor, etc.)
    This is the issue that should be focused on, and not on Removing the means to protect ourselves from ill-willed peoples who are in an induced dream-state on these pharmaceuticals.

    Catholics who live in strict gun-control cities and States that want to have the means to protect themselves and their families might want to think about moving down South, where Catholicism is the “fastest growing religion in Dixie.”

    God Bless

  5. Rick Hanson says:

    Unfortunately, I must disagree with you. The proposals that are being made for gun control are more for control then for stopping criminals. As you have seen, that by partially advocating for medical reform, we now have an open assault on the Church and what it teaches. What you advocate would do the same to the 2nd Amendment, which is why to become a tyrant here in the United States, you need to get rid of that pesky amendment first. For those who believe it can’t happen here, talk to some of the survivors of the internment camps in the US during WW2. The ones where innocent Americans of Japanese heritage were placed without due process. Each of the laws being proposed do not go after the criminal. They go after the law abiding and in some cases, make them criminal. Many people have different types of firearms, but have committed no crime with them. The laws being proposed in some states, like NY, make them into criminals. Criminals don’t care about the law as they will not register anything and will steal from the police if need be. IF a law was proposed to punish a criminal that much more for using a weapon (gun, knife, baseball bat, etc.) in the commission of a crime, I would support it. Florida has already done this in regards to guns and it does work. So, rob a store, get 5 years. Use a gun to rob a store, get 5 years for theft and 5 years for the gun. No parole for the gun time and not served concurrently. There are over 20,000 laws regulating firearms right now. It would be nice if they enforced the current ones without coming up with new ones.

  6. Fr. Brian Smith says:

    Thank you so much, Cardinal Dolan. My first assignment as a priest was in an inner city, and we buried more than one young person who was a victiim of gun violence. You’re so right about the response from people when we speak about gun control; but having seen more than enough loss and senseless violence, and comforted too many parents at the horrific loss of their child, we in the Church certainly have something to say in the conversation. Peace!

    Fr. Brian Smith

  7. Michael Ochoa says:

    The only argument I have against the USCCB coming out in favor of the POTUS position for gun control is to be very careful when agreeing with progressivism that runs the current administration political agnda. This administration is so anti-life on so many more levels it is troublesome for us Catholic layman for our bishops to come out publicly supporting a progressive simply because they will not stop there but slowly erode our 2nd amendment rights.

  8. Rob Stoecklein says:

    Hi Cardinal Dolan,

    I enjoyed reading your thoughts. If I may share a couple of my own:

    “..Overwhelming majorities of Americans..” : I seriously doubt that. If it is really “overwhelming”, then why isn’t there great pressure to change the constitution? Should be easy to do if most people want these changes; but we don’t.

    “..something must be done..” : This is not true if what you do makes things worse.

    “..easy access to guns, including assault weapons..” : What is an assault weapon? Is it the A/R-15 rifle? Most gun-related murders in our country are done in the inner cities with handguns. Only about 2% of killings are done with long guns (rifles) of any kind. Of those handguns, virtually none of them are purchased at a gun shop where checks are made. Guns are either stolen or purchased by these criminals. The things that are causing much of this are unwed-fathers, easy abortions, easy welfare money, lack of good schools, slow economy, easy drug money, etc. Why won’t the president address these issues? Why doesn’t the church advance these discussions?

    “..the proper responsibility of our legislators..” : Do we really want to leave that up to our legislators? The same people that are currently flying secret drone missions over the U.S.? The same people telling us we must pay for others’ abortions? The same people that are putting future generations in grave financial risk with $16T (and counting) in debt? The same people that don’t support school choice? That same people that think almost-born and just-born abortions are fine and dandy? The same people who can look into a camera and lie without blinking? Are you kidding me? How can you seriously believe that they know the right answer to anything?

    This is why James Madison insisted on a Bill of Rights: to ensure that the people are guaranteed core rights that cannot be taken away by whoever is currently in power. However, our inalienable rights that come from God *are* being taken from us, and there’s only one way to insure we remain free: *Guns in the hands of free men is the only thing that keeps us from being subjects of the federal government.*

    In our country, we use guns to protect our representatives, our courthouses, our banks — our money!, etc. Why don’t we use guns to protect our children? In other countries, maybe the best way to stop genocide is to arm the people being attacked! Is it really okay to be so “anti-gun” that we refuse to help innocent people? Aren’t we then part of the problem?

    Our focus should be on *reducing violence*, not taking away the best way for a person to protect themselves from evil people. Guns, in many cases, actually reduce violence. Unfortunately, those statistics are never reported by the MSM.


  9. Ben Molenda says:

    Your Eminence,

    I have only one short question:

    How different could the outcome of the devastating tragedy in Newtown have been, if even one responsible adult, (a principle, teacher, secretary or janitor) had been carrying a simple handgun for self-defense? (Or if they’d had it locked safely in their desk?) I’d argue the life-saving potential of a handgun, in the possession of a peaceful law-abiding citizen, in this instance and so many like it, is far greater than its potential as a tool of homicidal violence.

    I always enjoy your many eloquent references to our constitutional freedoms, as framed by our forefathers. Our forefathers, through the same wisdom in which they saw clear to recognize our “first, most cherished freedom”, also saw the need for the people to retain the capacity to protect themselves, not simply from random acts of madmen, but primarily from the potential tyranny of a wayward government. The government itself, as an imperfect institution of imperfect men, does not have Christ’s guarantee of Matthew 16:18 to ensure its right and just direction through history. The certain knowledge that the citizenry bears arms is a balancing force keeping an otherwise oppressive government in check. And you know as well as I the forms of oppression this government wishes to force upon us.

    Sincerely, your brother in Christ,

    Ben Molenda

  10. Linda says:

    Ever since the founding of our country, guns were found in homes and you didn’t have to worry about random shootings and murders. I think it’s important that Americans are able to protect and defend themselves, especially since the bad guys will always find a way to get them. Our biggest issue is how morally bankrupt our society is; that is the root to all of our issues. If we could instill sound morals and values and love for God back into our society, much of the crime and the culture of death would cease to exist. Blessings to you, Cardinal Dolan!

  11. Jennifer Valley says:

    Dear Bishop Dolan, I would like to bring a book to your attention. More Guns, Less Crime is a highly scholarly work by John Lott, Jr., an economist who has rigorously studied the effects of gun control. He starts with the premise that guns are used for both good and bad purposes; to take innocent life and to protect innocent life. His goal is to determine which effect is greater. You may be surprised at the conclusions of his research.

    Tomorrow I will take a class to prepare myself to carry a concealed weapon so that I can protect myself and others from violent crime. If we take handguns away from law-abiding citizens, then only criminals will have them. We will all be sitting ducks.

    Disarming law-abiding citizens is kind of like trying to stop drunk-driving by taking cars away from sober people.

    I am very sorry that your remarks may further the attempts to take handguns away from people like me. Evidence shows, more innocent life will be lost.

  12. George Weaver says:

    Cardinal Dolan,

    While I admire the Church’s position on the Culture of Life, I hope you will reconsider your stance on gun control in that very context. If you are open to empirical data compiled by the FBI and Department of Justice, just Google the subject when you have a minute. You will find overwhelming evidence that every community with strict gun control measures in place suffers higher murder rates – by any weapon – than comparable communities that allow law-abiding citizens to defend themselves. In the mainstream media you will never hear of a single life saved by an armed citizen, yet it happens almost daily. Those of us who support the second amendment and our right to defend ourselves with appropriate force also believe in the Culture of Life, as in saving ours and the lives of people we love. Please consider this side of the equation rather than blindly supporting policies that will actually cost lives.

  13. Michael says:

    Your Eminence,

    How do you define “assault weapons” ?

    I am not a gun owner, but I support the constitution. The government already restricts the truly military style weaponry. The weapons that the police are largely fearful of are in the hands of the criminal element which do not subject themselves waiting periods and background checks by purchasing these weapons at law abiding shops. Be careful not to lump all of the law abiding gun owners in with criminals because of they types or numbers of firearms they may own.

    If you are someone, like the President and mass media, who defines an “assault weapon” as a black military looking gun, instead of a firearm that “looks” like a hunting rifle, then I’m afraid you have fallen into a trap and lie that those who are pushing this kind of legislation are attempting to pass off as truth.

    Of course I’m no theological expert, but given that Jesus permitted his disciples to carry weapons to protect themselves as we see in the garden as He is betrayed by Judas. I am weary that you are in part suggesting that those of us who love God and abide in the laws of this land should be left unprepared to defend ourselves and our families when called upon. The proverbial, “don’t bring a knife to a gun fight,” quote comes to mind as I consider that those with Jesus, who carried swords, carried the same type of arms that the Romans soldiers carried…not something that put them at a significant disadvantage from the onset of a conflict. Yes, I know He healed the man’s ear, and demanded his disciples to put their swords away, but He did not rebuke them for having the weaponry.

  14. Rita says:

    Cardinal Dolan just lost my vote to be the next Pope! (If I had a vote anyway) The Chatechism references given do not actually support the argument. No amount of gun control legislation can change the Culture of Death that pervades this country. The Culture of Death is rooted in 40 years of abortion on demand and more recently the addition of euthanasia. If you fail to change the hearts of people and teach them that ALL life is sacred, violence will continue to escalate at alarming rates. I have no doubt that some form of gun control legislation will be enacted, however I also have no doubt that the violence will continue unless we can treat the problems at the root – the lack of respect for life at all stages.

  15. Ben says:

    From all these murders comes one easy lesson. The murders all happen in places where guns are already forbidden. Why do the cities with the strictest gun laws have the highest gun crime rates? Chicago, DC, NY? It’s because the innocent are at the mercy of the criminals. Criminals who have weapons and innocent people who follow the law and don’t have anything to defend themselves or others. Who really is an expert of gun control among us? But how can we say that what hasn’t worked all of a sudden will start working. The problem is not guns, the problem is the evil intentions of men to carry out heinous act on the defenseless. Gun laws will not solve the problem they will only make them more common.

  16. Daniel Kane says:

    The fundamental connection between Newtown, Aurora, Blacksburg, Tucson, Columbine and others is this – we ignore the mentally ill among us. Each and every shooter was mentally ill to the most common observer; a few under psychiatric care. Until we elect to examine our conscience in light of the treatment and care afforded out mentally ill brothers and sisters, all the gun controls will be meaningless or they will seek other destructive means.

    No one cares for the mentally ill and the endpoint of mental illness is death. Death of self for certain, and often death of others. Do not conflate gun trafficking and international arms sales with the deranged among us that we choose to ignore.

  17. Angelos Kavouriadis says:

    Cardinal Dolan,

    A secular government that has the power impose strict gun control, also has the power to impose the HHS mandate. You can’t have it both ways. You either want a strong government that regulates every detail of our lives (including yours), or you don’t

    If you feel so strongly about gun control, I suggest you go directly to the people and ask them not to own guns unless they feel they absolutely need them for protection…BUT giving even more power to a secular government that will eventually use it against the Catholic Church…is a huge mistake

  18. Robbie Dupree says:

    Your Eminence, I wholly agree with the Church’s pursuit of a Culture of Life. For that reason, mass private ownership of firearms is necessary. The criminals among us certainly cheapen life with their willingness to use violence (armed or unarmed). A firearm owned by the common law-abiding citizen puts lethal capability into the hands of a person that honestly do not want to take human lives. Any citizen learning how to operate a firearm agonizes over the consequences of each trigger-pull. While I understand our Lord preached pacifism in the face of violence, I think use of violence to protect the common peace better serves the Church’s goals. I also encourage you to include in your stance the reiteration of mankind’s God-given right to bodily integrity and the physical defense thereof.

  19. Tara Maree says:

    Amen Cardinal!!! God Bless your bold stand!!! Pro-guns is not pro-life, well done..

  20. Pax Americana says:

    Thank you Cardinal Dolan.

  21. Julie Ann Courville says:

    Dear Cardinal Dolan,

    The people must be taught the truths of our faith bravely and boldly from the pulpit of
    Holy Mother Church. “Thou shall not kill” “Thou shall not commit adultery”. Here is the root of the evil. Many of the government officials in power from the very top down including the “Catholic” officials are okay with abortion and “population control” measures. Since the law allows for abortion, euthanasia, same sex marriage, cohabitation etc.etc. Gun laws will never never never stop the violence. What’s the difference of being killed by a bullet or murdered by forceps , wires, or IV medication ? The solution must start with Truth itself planted in the hearts of mankind. This is where your role, the role of our priests, sisters, deacons and holy lay people need to be focused. Verbally teaching and physically living God’s laws and precepts of true love without the fear of backlash.
    God bless you always,
    Julie Ann Courville

  22. Your Eminence, I respectfully ask that you look at the facts. Non of these proposed regulations will have the slighest chance of deterring the type of event that they claim to address. Psychological profiling would be far more effective.

    Also, please check the figures on the gun violence in the areas with the most restrictive gun controls. For example, in both Washington D.C. and Chicago it is virtually impossible for a law abiding citizen to get a gun, yet those areas are among the highest gun violence areas.

    Yours in Christ

  23. Paul Bode says:

    Bishop, Your second to last paragraph should have been your first, and the focus of your message. The reckless approach to legislation demoralizes society, and contributes to a justified lack of respect for authority. That contributes more to the culture of death than taking guns from honest people, which is what Cuomo did. You of all people should understand how foolish it is to waver on basic truths. Cuomo and his legislation contributes more to the culture of death in this state than all legal gun owners combined. Your message gave no hint of that. It may be time to fund the NRA, as it does God’s work too. It does not shy away from truth. When you reinforce unalienable rights you do Gods work. Pray for the wisdom to effectively communicate to the public as measured by actions that the more we destroy our children in Godless public schools, the more we destroy our children in Godless homes, the more we promote violence, with or without guns. NY’s legislation is bad, as evidenced by the fact that by you promoting it you alienate a man, a husband, and a father, who makes sure God is not denied in the private and public square. Respectfully, with the Son in mind, Paul Bode.

  24. Tom says:

    Eminence, I appreciate the sentiment but the predilection of high churchmen such as yourself rushing to agree with anything this immoral regime proposes is terrifying. You envision sensible restrictions on high-powered weapons; the president envisions something entirely different. You envision welcoming the stranger with regard to immigration reform; again, this president envisions something entirely different. The time to give this administration the courtesy of having good intentions is well past. Their actions betray their goals. If your Eminence wants to promote safety, keeping a laser-like focus on the Obama administration’s failure to protect unborn life would yield more positive results. President Obama is a master politician and has all but eradicated the influence of the opposition party. Must your Eminence give Mr. Obama exactly what he needs to quash the influence of the Church? It’s better not to say anything at all than to give cover to anything this administration wants to do. Pray for effective gun control; but not from this gang…

  25. Fred Penar says:

    Cardinal Dolan, you know very well gun control questions are beyond your competence.
    Please stay out of political arenas reserved for the laity.
    If you cannot, then read the Second Amendment, and reflect on what “Shall Not Be Infringed” means.

    God help us if you are the next Pope.

  26. Well Said His Grace Dolan…..At this moment I should also acknowledge that I am rereading your book ‘Priests for the Third Millennium’ and indeed preached my homily on the chapter ‘ Penance’ from the book. I am an one year old priest from India…Glad that I could respond to you…Praying for you……

  27. Raymond says:

    Your Eminence, Thank you for writing your thoughtful post on what is understandably an often emotionally loaded subject. May I express my skepticism on a couple grounds?

    I say nothing of the Constitution, which is relevant for the legality of gun control, but not to the morality of it, which is the more important question.

    1. The Church has always affirmed that self-defense is a legitimate and in some cases morally required response to aggression. I saw a quote attributed to the catechism that called self defense“a grave duty for one who is responsible for the lives of others.” If one has the duty of defense of self or others (a husband and father for instance), presumably it is reasonable to think that one has the right to tools of self defense that will be adequate to the task. Perhaps an AR-15 is appropriate for the task. Perhaps not. This leads to my second concern:

    2. Bishops are rightly the authorities in guardianship of the faith and morality. But in matters of specific policy, they don’t have special competence. Hence, they highlight the moral issues at play that should guide policy, but should be hesitant to advocate for specific policy. Whether the AR-15 “assault weapon” (a questionable designation) is legitimate for self-defence seems not a matter of faith or morals but of specific policy.

    3. A world without God, as the secular world is, is a world without free will. If no God, then determinism. Hence, you cannot (as Chesteron said) say to a sinner “go an sin no more,” since the sinner cannot help it. But you can change his environment. This issue of banning guns seems to me to rest on the idea that we can’t prevent a killer from doing something bad, so we should change the physical tools he has access to.

  28. Jeffrey says:

    Nicely written your Eminence!

  29. Mary says:

    Your Eminence,
    I have to STRONGLY disagree with this statement and beg you to look to the cities with the strictest gun control laws and how well that has bode in building a culture of life in those places. Denying people the ability to legally defend themselves from those who choose evil is the opposite of building a culture of life. stricter gun control laws have created MORE DEATH and more crime. I am saddened that you have such an inherent trust in the government and a distrust in the goodness of the average citizen. The only thing (besides a miraculous instant conversion to Christ for which we can all pray for every criminal) that will stop a bad person with a gun is a good person with a gun. THAT is what will save lives and build a culture of life. A culture that says that EVERY life is worth defending, not just the privileged. PLEASE reconsider your position. God bless you.
    Mary Haseltine

  30. Alex Z says:

    Please please be weary any time you agree with people who are against the church. I do not expect you to be an expert on guns but understand who is pushing for control. Understand that every time we lose freedom it is a very bad thing. These politicans, obama and cuomo, are not people who want what they say. They double speak. We must help make people aware of the value of life and understand the danger of guns. You cannot be for the unlawful removal of guns from law abiding citizens. The founding fathers were men of great faith. George Washington constantly prayed. His first act as president was to go to church, pray, and consecrate the United States to God. Learn history. understand why the 2nd amendment was so important it was #2. These politicians who seek to control more of our daily lives have to be suspect to you. Cuomo acted out of politics and rushed so no one would find the truth. Consider that violence will not be reduced by taking guns or knives or rocks or fists away. It will be reduced by making people understand it is not the answer and that life is so precious. Think before you support people who support everything the church is against. God help us.

  31. Judy Silhan says:

    Your Excellency,

    I am a lifelong Catholic, but I respectfully disagree with your support of gun control. Criminals are criminals because they do bad things, often with guns. More gun control will not stop the crimionals from getting guns. Maybe you are not aware of the fact that in New York. Chicago, other countries where there is strict gun control, the crime rate has sky rocketed.

    The President and most wealthy people have their armed security details. Why should law abiding citizens be prevented from having the same protection?

    The second amendment gave the people protection from a government getting tyranical or becoming a dictatorship, from which they fled from in England. They came here for freedom. Our rights are being taken away more and more. Gun control is just another way the President is determined to take away the 2nd amendment. The President has armed proterction at his childrens’ school. Why not have armed teachers in local schools like they have in Texas? Tragedies like Newtown have and always will happen. Gun control is not the answer. Look to the media and violence, video violence, and lack of mental health care. These are areas to look into, not disarming law abiding citizens.

    Judy Silhan
    29180 Camino Alba, Murrieta, CA, 92563, St. Martha Church

  32. Thank you for your courage in sticking to the Church’s teaching on guns. But what about the Church’s teaching on armed resistance (CSDC 400)? Would the conditions required for armed resistance never be met in the modern day, with drones, etc. at the government’s disposal?

  33. MaryGr says:

    I highly recommend this article by Judie Brown of the American Life League. I will rightly be offering my prayers and Lenten fasts for you and your brother bishops.

  34. Jay Hamilton says:

    and comments such as these and the anti-male position of the church is why parishioners are dwindling. Men no longer are served by this institution. The church sells its sole to the Democrats. Shameful.

  35. Phillip says:

    “Asking God’s help that our elected representatives in Washington and in state houses across the country have the courage and the wisdom to pass meaningful and effective gun control bills, will certainly have a prominent place in those prayers.”

    That would be so if gun control laws work. But there is no evidence that they do. In fact, there is evidence that they may in fact result in increased gun violence.

    If that is the case, then passing laws that are ineffective will only result in contempt for government. Passing laws that increase violence will result in an increase in the Culture of Death. Neither would be worthwhile.

    Thus I would suggest, a Christian, in good conscience, could oppose such moves.

  36. AnthonyV says:

    Rubish. There are 20,000 laws on the books. All of these shootings are done by people who break the law. Making more only stops those of us who do follow the law, from protecting ourselves. The culture of death has caused this problem, no doubt, but not allowing us to defend ourself is misguided. See Luke 22, even the apostles had the most dangerous weapon of their day, a sword. Peter, in the garden, had a sword. Jesus didn’t say get rid of your sword, he said this is not the time, I have a spiritual mission. And those who live by the sword die by the sword does not apply. I carry a gun every day and NEVER have I shot anyone because I don’t live by the sword, but someone might die by the sword if they pull something on me and try to harm me or my wife or 4 kids. I have a right to protect myself and I”m a better shot than most officers and I’m also a first responder, the police are second responders.

    I train, I am responsible, I keep them locked up and only my wife and I have access. We are law abiding, I am a faithful orthdox Catholic working on a masters in theology.

  37. Donald Kolenda says:

    Thank you, Your Eminence. This was the first post on the topic I could fully relate to and agree with. God bless you!

  38. Irene says:

    I don’t think a person could consider themselves pro-life and oppose gun control.

    I think it most important to better regulate the gun manufacturers. If they didn’t make these weapons (like the one at the center of Newtown), people wouldn’t own them.

    We don’t need to reinvent the wheel in order to decrease gun violence. The US has more gun violence than almost every other developed country; let’s figure out what the less violent countries are doing and figure out how to replicate it here.

  39. Tim N says:

    Doesn’t anyone see where all of this is heading? If nobody feels safe unless they are armed, then someday everyone will be armed. Is that really what we want in a civilized society? Who wants to walk into Madison Square Garden to see a Knicks game where everyone is armed? Not me. A movie theater where everyone is armed? No way.
    And as far as the argument about guns being protection from an oppressive government goes, you’ve got to be kidding me. That argument died about 100 years ago, when our tax dollars gave us the best military in the world. If Uncle Sam decides he wants you, or anyone else for that matter, dead, you won’t even see it coming. Your guns are useless against drones, F-22’s, and BlackHawk helicopters.
    Lastly, the Second Amendment is about as open ended as it gets. The “Right to Bear Arms” is so vague in this day of sophisticated weaponry that somebody (our lawmakers in this case) needs to define “Arms” for us and for future generations. I am a Republican and a supporter of the Second Amendment, and I still think we need to take some action to limit the types of firearms that citizens can possess. If the only answer solution people can give me is “We need more guns,” then we are doomed as a civilized nation. The Cardinal may not be an expert on this topic, but you don’t need to be an expert to ask our legislators to try something to slow the killing.

  40. Linda Kells says:

    Dear Cardinal Dolan,

    It is getting more and more difficult to evangelise when Church leaders put forth their own politicial beliefs rather than the true teachings of the Catholic Church.
    Gun registration and control is NOT a teaching of the Catholic Faith, and we all know it.
    Please review the “Catechism of the Catholic Church, Second Edition” in entirety for true teachings of the Church from the Magisterium.

    It would be extremely helpful if Church leaders would actively and publically encourage all literate persons within their own Diocese to read/study the CCC in entirety, as stated in Moto Proprio Porta Fidei (paragraphs 11)
    Teaching is the first task of all Bishops. (CCC 888) And they should not deviate from the true teachings of the Church, or they cause confusion themselves.
    When the Catholic Laity is accurately and completely taught, they will do the right thing in the public square.
    (You even admitted that the Bishops have done a lousy job regarding teaching on contraception. Well this in not the only thing that needs the attention of the Bishops which is contained in the CCC.)

    It would be extremely helpful if Church leaders would protect the “Real Presence” from Sacrilege by enforcing Canon 1915, and when necessary to stop Scandal within the Church by publically excommunicating ab homine in accord with Canon 1399.
    Again this is to teach, and to stop confusion, heresy, and schism. As St. Paul stated see: 1 Cor 5:11-13.

    In a nutshell the Bishops have enough to do without interferring in the prudential judgement of the Laity.
    (The Bishops seem to forget the gun registration and later the gun confiscation of the Marksist and Communist regemes that have lead to the genocide of millions.)
    And if you truly cared about women and the elderly, you would not want to take away their protection from unjust agressors – which could include a bad government per the Fathers of the Constitution.

    CCC: ” 898 By reason of their special vocation it belongs to the laity to seek the kingdom of God by engaging in temporal affairs and directing them according to God’s will. … It pertains to them in a special way so to illuminate and order all temporal things with which they are closely associated that these may always be effected and grow according to Christ and maybe to the glory of the Creator and Redeemer. ”

    CCC: ” 899 The initiative of lay Christians is necessary especially when the matter involves discovering or inventing the means for permeating social, political, and economic realities with the demands of Christian doctrine and life. This initiative is a normal element of the life of the Church.

    Basically Cardinal, you do your job, and we Laity will do ours. There is much work to be done.
    Thank you for your consideration in doing your own job, and not that of the Laity.

    Linda Kells

  41. carol says:

    Dear Cardinal Dolan, first lets go down the list you know and pope john paul ll, and pope Benidict all were well aware of the disarmament of Germany while Hitler did his thing, not only to the jews but the 3 million plus catholics, while you are under the guise of listening to our president obama and taking in what he has to say about gun control and you are agreeing with him as you did on his health mandate, until you had to turn around and say blatentely that the President lied to you regarding the catholic church not having to deal with being forced to pay for abortions etc etc., now you are falling for the same old story, how he wants to make america more safe , give me a break, what really frightens me is you are being taken in again , oh my gosh, wake up man , and do the JOB GOD gave you to do and that is to stand up and defend the human rights of a person and one of those rights in the united states is to be able to defend yourself with your own gun, like that mother who had to defend her and her children hiding in the closet from the intruder who broke into her home, go read some of those horrific stories of the victim, start screaming bloody murder about millions of abortions taking place approved by your catholic vice president joseph biden and your speaker of the house catholic nancy pelosi, theres were you need to have your voice heard Cardinal Dolan stand up to them and your president , and say americans must be able to defend themselves in time of grave danger from intruders into there home, now go do your job thank you and God Bless you Cardinal Dolan

  42. David Dunst says:

    I once might have thought as you do, Eminence. But, as my family grew, I found myself increasingly concerned for their safety in a larger city, in increasingly evil times, and delved into the Church’s teaching on mortal defence of life and loved ones.

    What I found convicted me that I had been negligent in my very duty to them as responsible for their defence. Since, I have learned about the safe handling and operation of firearms, and have chosen to become proficient in their use.

    While I fully believe in the promotion of a culture of life, the Church currently stands astride opposing ideals, based on your statements. Please spend some time on this issue, and clarify how your statements are to be understood in light of both. Neither Tradition nor Scripture are silent on these issues, nor do I believe “macro-Catholicism” — the Church in the world — and “micro-Catholicism” — the church in every home — are opposed.

  43. James says:

    Dear Cardinal Dolan:

    It grieves me to watch as our bishops support the Obama administration and the “gun control” lobby as they exploit the recent tragedy in Connecticut to erode the natural right of free men to defend themselves. As a previous responder points out, the empirical evidence as chronicled by John R. Lott in his book “More Guns, Less Crime” strongly suggests that more gun control laws do not reduce crime, but rather, enable the criminal. I respectfully ask that you read Lott’s work. You may reconsider your position on how best to defend the innocent and promote a culture of life in a fallen and imperfect world.

    The criminal element who prey on the weak and defenseless do not, and will not, respect any law that serves to disarm the lawful citizen. We don’t have a problem with guns. We have a problem with evil. Evangelization is the answer to this problem. Our first priority should be to work tirelessly to tell more people about Jesus. We don’t hear many politicians or media personalities recommending this solution. But I thank you for your efforts to do so.

    However, I don’t understand why our shepherds side with men who are clearly opposed to the principle of Subsidiarity, free will and free men. So many of our church leaders turned their back on these principles and supported socialized health care. How’s that strategy working out for us? Those who stand for a culture of life and freedom of religion are under attack by a diabolical regime that has demonstrated time and again that they do not respect our Constitution or our founding principles of life and liberty, and especially not our religious freedoms.

    The President would have us believe that those who “cling to their guns and religion” are irrational for doing so. Why is he so concerned about guns and religion (as he expressed at a San Francisco campaign fundraiser before his 2008 election)? Well, our Faith provides a spiritual and intellectual defense against tyranny, just as our guns provide a physical means to deter and resist those who would abuse and exploit the innocent. It is time we acknowledge the elephant in the room. It is time we take a stand for our Faith and our freedom before they are both lost.

    Please, Cardinal Dolan, consider this contrary position. Please pray for me, a wretched sinner. I will pray for you and all the bishops who faithfully lead our Church. May the Holy Spirit guide us all.

  44. Paul W Primavera says:

    Your Eminence,

    You are completely incorrect about gun control. A strong Second Amendment protects the First. The lesson of the Cristeros War started by gun-controlling atheist President Plutarco Elias Calles in Mexico during the 1920s should be a stark reminder to the Church that when baby-murdering, sodomy-sanctifying demogogues like Obama have guns and we the sovereign citizens don’t, persecution of the Church always results. Furthermore, there is no dialogue to be held with evil Obama or the Democrats. The Maccabean brothers understood this when confronted with the paganism of the Seleucid rulers. But what is your response? Dialogue? Never!

  45. Joel says:

    What a wonderful opportunity when speaking about rights to speak about religious rights!

  46. Thomas Ramaley says:

    Your Eminence,

    All God’s blessings to you forever. Perhaps a better directed advacacy would be to call for the imprisonment of criminals who use guns in the commision of a crime. Agreeing with forces who harbor an agenda destructive to the Church is an equally dubious undertaking. The US is a beacon of hope to the world. American Liberalism in Washington is the leading threat to this ideal and the defeat of tenets coincidentally would solve virtually of positions the Church holds dear. The objectives of preserving the sanctity of life, the sacrament of marriage, and the dignity of the individual all are achieved by defeating Liberalism. You remain in my prayers. Best regards

  47. Trisha Fox says:

    Your Eminence,
    I am glad that you included the need for better treatment/diagnosis of mental illness that might lead to gun violence. I have long tried to get ‘those in charge’ to focus more intently on pupils that seem troubled so that we might help them toward healing. Prayers are also being directed toward recognizing the desensitization experienced from watching the myriad uses of guns in media programming and movies. God bless!

  48. Mark McPherson (Br. Mark of the Cross) says:

    I would like to throw in my two cents on the gun control debate. I am Br. Mark of the Cross, a Franciscan friar serving in the Holy Land. This happened yesterday near my home to a fellow classmate I used to play baseball with in high school:!/on-air/as-seen-on/Foreman-Heard-OC-Gunman–Chamber-Round-/192062921

    I do believe as the Cardinal has stated that gun CONTROL, not a banning of all weapons is desperately needed in our country today. I myself, while working in a grocery store in the late 1990’s was held at gun point by a couple of small time crooks that took off from our store with less than 100 dollars. That was also, as my classmate Shane above, just outside Los Angeles. My sister as well, while working in a fast food restaurant, was also held at gun point in a drive thru and that guy got away too with very little money. So, I do have a perspective of this debate of someone who has been on the receiving end of a gun. I also served in the military, where I was trained to use an M-16. After 9-11, I served as an augmentee cop, taking me away from my assigned work as a photographer. Why is it, that some guns used in the military, such as M-16’s, need to be for sale on the streets of America? Why oozies? Why AK 47’s? These weapons, that are used and have been used by our trained military forces are on the streets of America. AK 47’s were used in Los Angeles during the LA riots of 1992, among other guns and weapons in which 58 people lost their lives. I am a supporter of gun control, not banning guns all together…but something has to give, and our fixation on violence is indeed cultivating a culture of death. Gun control is, I believe, from my personal experience, a step towards building a culture of Life!

  49. Linda says:

    Cardinal Dolan,
    Sadly, I think that you will find many Catholics trust guns more than God. This is the culture your alarmist politics and divisive actions have helped to form. Perhaps you will rethink the next ‘Fortnight of Freedom’ campaign, which fuels in many the paranoid fantasy that ‘tyranny is right round the corner so grab your guns.’

  50. Dear Cardinal,

    Perhaps you may devote less time to opining on gun control and concentrate on the recent remarks of Gov. Cuomo on late term abortions. The silence re his remarks and the behavior of too many of our catholic (small c) politicians is deafening.

    The guns have always been there. The difference is the prevailing loss of respect for life that has crept into our society due in part by the legal killing of 55 million helpless babies. Additionally, when was the last time we heard Thou Shalt Not Kill from the pulpit or from the self-styled preachers who march against violence in the street.

    Giving into any gun control suggested by this current administration is foolish. Rights given up can never be restored. We need swift accountability of gun violence offenders and less pablum from leadership.