I’m a protestant, but one thing I generally respect the Catholic Church for is its consistency regarding the sanctity of life. They oppose the death penalty and abortion, arguing both are problematic according to their faith.
I don’t necessarily agree with them on some things, but I do like seeing intellectual consistency.
Yet that belief in the sanctity of life leads many Catholics to support gun control. They seem to believe that by restricting weapons, you respect life. Even the Pope has said as much.
But for one op-ed writer, it’s not that simple.
As the nation continues to mourn the victims of the Uvalde massacre, and with old wounds aching over the sentencing of the Parkland shooter and the Sandy Hook conspiracy theorist trial, Catholics should be the ones who offer answers when it comes to gun violence.
Some legislators want to focus on gun ownership and gun control. But the remedy won’t be found there. Rather, the remedy is spiritual. The nation must realize that saving lives begins with returning sanctity to life in all its stages. And sometimes, as counterintuitive as it may seem to say so, it might, at times, actually take a gun to do that.
A common response to the continual tragedy of school shootings in the United States is to assert that if there are no guns, there will be no shootings. But this perspective is both impractical and misguided. Christians are still called to defend the lives of the helpless—and sometimes an opposing firearm is the best tool to accomplish that. To a virtuous person, the Second Amendment bestows the real potential to be a lifesaver. In these dark days, exercising the right to keep and bear arms may even be considered a responsibility where it is permissible.
The author notes, quite correctly, that criminals will get guns no matter what laws you put on the books. However, he also notes that it’s the law-abiding citizens who will be disarmed.
Now, you could make the case that law-abiding citizens who believe in the sanctity of life shouldn’t even try to defend themselves from violent attackers. If that’s how you want to live your life, so be it.
But most people will recognize that when it comes to some kind of hierarchy of various lives’ sanctity, “me” usually ranks higher than “them” when “them” is trying to kill “me.”
“Don’t start nothin’, won’t be nothin’,” as they say.
Of course, I’m not a Catholic, so I really don’t want to interject too much into a debate one might find within a given faith. However, I will note that the author is far from alone. I happen to know many other Catholics who share that point of view, that the Second Amendment defends our right to keep and bear arms, and that using those arms in self-defense is just, even from a religious standpoint.
It shouldn’t even be a debate, in my opinion, but this is the world we live in.
And I won’t pretend protestants are necessarily any better on this. Believe me, I know.