After much talk, Cardinal Blase Joseph Cupich, the Archbishop of Chicago, has finally issued a decree banning firearms from all churches, schools, and other properties across the archdiocese.
When Illinois legalized concealed carry in 2013, priests were allowed to choose whether or not their individual parishes would be gun free zones. But under Cupich’s decree, it’s no longer a choice.
The decree, which goes into effective on Thursday, September 14th, states that anyone found with a gun – including clergy and staff members – on archdiocese property will be promptly asked to leave. They will not be able to return until the firearm is no longer on their person.
Clergy members who live on the premises and legally own firearms for hunting or sports shooting can keeping firearms inside their homes. However, the gun must be unloaded and stored in a lockbox or safe.
“The intent of this policy is to balance the rights of all who approach Archdiocesan churches, schools or other facilities with the greatest possible protection for children, the elderly, and otherwise vulnerable people in our society,” Cupich told priests and parish staff in a memo, reports to the Chicago Tribune.
And it appears many Reverends are on board with the decision.
Rev. Michael Pfleger, pastor of St. Sabina Catholic Church, praised the Archbishop for the move. Although his reason why is rather odd.
“There has been this kind of madness, in my mind, a growing obsession that guns are needed to be safe,” he tells the Chicago Tribune. “With that reality growing day by day, it is a tremendous statement for the cardinal to say for the church, we are not buying into this madness. In our buildings and our properties, we are not going to allow guns.”
It’s not mad to think that guns are a great form of protection – there are countless stories of firearms saving lives. What’s mad is thinking that gun-free zones will make the archdiocese of Chicago and those who frequent it safer.
Sorry, Cupich, but criminals aren’t going to following your decree. All you’ve done is left your fellow Clergyman and churchgoers more vulnerable.